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Upgraded Lou Lodati Park/Tornsey Park Re-opens June 15

June 10, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside, NY: There is going to be plenty for Sunnysiders to bark about this Saturday.

Lou Lodati/Tornsey Park, which has been undergoing renovation for the past year, is re-opening June 15.

The upgraded park will now include a dog run—for both big and small dogs—as well as new planting beds throughout the park.

The Parks Department has also resurfaced the existing asphalt–which will contain separate areas for a softball field, volleyball/ecuavolley and basketball courts.

The revamp is 2 to 3 months ahead of schedule. The Parks Department broke ground in September and anticipated at the time that it would take a year to complete.

The renovation was largely the result of a grass-roots campaign by the Sunnyside United Dog Society (SUDS)—and its leader Rick Duro—who pushed for nearly a decade for a dog run and park upgrades. The group’s goal became one of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s campaign promises when he ran for office three and a half years ago.

“It is a big project for me and the completion of the first park project I have funded,” Van Bramer said. “I was proud to get funding for it within six months of being in office and getting the Queens Borough President to help fund it too.  It will be enormously gratifying to see it open and to cut the ribbon.”

The dog-run advocates, who formed SUDS in 2001, have had many setbacks in pursuit of their dream over the years. Their initial design plans were voted down by the community board, and then when the amended plans were finally approved and the funds allocated in 2007—-the city budget cuts railroaded them.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am that we are finally at this point, “ Rick Duro, the leader of SUDS, said recently. “The sweat, the tears, the highs and lows over the years.”

Van Bramer said the revamp is comprehensive. “We’ve done the entire field and include green space and plantings that look nice,” he said. “The park will no longer look like an asphalt jungle, and it also be a lot safer since it has been resurfaced.”

The revamp comes at a cost of $1.4 million and was funded through allocations from Van Bramer and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.


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Baba Wawa

@ Mike Novak – Would you care to share your ethnic background and race with us? Inquiring minds want to know…

Preschool Teacher

I love how everyone is a ‘lawyer’ when it comes to any initiative that may not directly benefit them. So selfish!! Dogs are AWESOME! They save lives!! They work hard and they provide comfort and good mental health to children, sick people people, and veterans (to name a few)! Shut up already about this!

Rick Duro

I just spoke with the Parks Dept:

As the contractor needs several straight days of dry, warm weather to apply the finishing coats to the surface of the park it won’t be ready in time for this Saturday. The rescheduled date will be JUNE 22nd.

I think we’d all like to them to get it right the first time, so another week won’t hurt.




Mike Novak should get a job with the NSA. This way he can get paid to snoop on people and demand their personal info.

Truth Speaker

Rather my tax dollars go to a nice dog park than these school programs which are a waste of money and people with money take advantage of. Gotta admit, dogs are more of a pleasure to be around than these kids.


The dog community in Sunnyside is super stoked about the run! I’m so excited to get to know everyone better beyond the occasional run-in on the street. This gives us a great opportunity!


I can’t wait for the park! My pooch will be happy and it’s a great way to meet new people. I’m optimistic about this park.
As for “volleyball.” If you can’t beat them join them… Or take their spot first. I’m a girl and loved to play volleyball and I don’t drink (too much) beer and I don’t pee in public. I bet there are many like me that enjoy the sport and would like to play it as well.
If you want change don’t just bitch and cry over it-do something about it.


Ecua-volley is a sport. Now the people who play it don’t have to be athletic to enjoy the game. I am happy that we are getting nets at the park. Love it!!!!

bottle of chianti 'n a suped up monte!

equa-volley is not a sport. Its a bunch of super chubby latino men catching a volleyball and throwing it back over the net. you give a designated area to these people you’d expect them to learn how to play the game right.


This is going to be great. Can’t wait to hang with the pups and neighbors. Haters gonna hate (and apparently also be super racist and bitter)!

Dorothy Morehead

Sunnyside Shines is a BID (business improvement district)
for businesses on Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Boulevard. The businesses pay a tax to the BID which then provides services such as business promotions (the recent Hoppin’ Thursdays), graffiti removal, extra litter basket emptying and curb sweeping. If there is a specific project you think the BID should consider, you can contact them at the office on 43rd St.


PEOPLE pissed and shit in Lodati for YEARS, while children were around by the way. So I don’t really get this bitching and moaning about the dogs, especially since they’ll be cordoned off in their own area.

If you don’t like dogs being around, how could you possibly view a SEPARATE dog area as anything but a good thing. You people will complain about anything.


$3m dollars to pave it again and have a place for dogs. Why not some grass and more trees………………… a real park.

Sunnyside Native

I spoke with Jimmy Van Bramer’s office about a half hour ago. If large groups of people start to assemble to play a game, without the proper permits in place, the parks dept. onsite personnel needs to address this with the group immediately and he/she will then engage the 108 precinct. Every sport team must have a permit, like the young girls softball team always do…


@ Mike Novak: Puerto Rican (American) Father and German Mother (Mom was actually born in Germany). They met when my Father was stationed in Germany. What’s it to you? You want my blood type and SS # too??


Is there a ribbon cutting or other event planned for the. 15th? It would be nice for the Sunnyside Post to let us know.


Aren’t permits required down in Lou Lodati Park if you play games? Who enforces the permit rule?

Sunnyside Native

@ 7TrainDelays – my taxes fund many projects in this fine city of ours, projects that I have zero interest in contributing to, but I do because it is required and probably the right thing to do anyway. My family owns houses, condos and co-ops in this neighborhood and each one has a dog, so it is nice that we are seeing a return on our investments. Thank You to Jimmy Van Bramer and Helen Marshall for making this happen! Can’t wait until Saturday!


@ ssphm14

Seriously, can’t they just stay in Corona. Unfortunately we can’t stop anyone from enjoying our new park. Hopefully they’ll be respectful to the new digs. But probably not.


I’ve never seen dogs in the children’s area at the Skillman playground…

I hope humans and dog owners alike will clean up the litter that is on the streets of Sunnyside! It’s gotten a bit better but much more needs to be done.

How come SUNNYSIDE SHINES doesn’t do the south side??? Should it be renamed Sunnyside North of the Blvd Shines. 🙂


The Latinos who will invade this park every weekend thank you for your tax dollars.


I hope dog owners will be respectful enough to clean up after their dogs in the dog park.



You certainly live up to your name. I’m not even sure of what point you are trying to make.

Perhaps some of us are tired of politicians playing Santa Claus with our own money and would like articles like this to reflect the reality of where these funds really come from. The wording of this, as in many other articles, makes it seem as if the politicians mentioned somehow gave this money to us from the goodness of their own hearts and we’re somehow supposed to be grateful for their personal generosity.


So what if it was funded by taxpayers? Aren’t most things funded by tax payers? And plenty people pay taxes that end up funding projects that they never use. How many childless parents pay taxes for schools? It’s a park that was renovated for the good of our neighborhood and it so happens to have a section for dogs. No one is complaining that it also has basketball courts and baseball diamonds that a lot of people will never use.


“…and was funded through allocations from Van Bramer and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.”

Correction: was funded by allocations from city taxpayers, i.e. all of you.


With the completion of the dog area I really hope the dogs stay out of the Skillman Playground.


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