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While Sunnyside Thrift Shop Closes This Week, Owner/Operator Still Has Plans to Stick Around

Photo: QueensPost

Feb. 5, 2014 By Christian Murray

The owner of a Queens Blvd thrift shop that is closing this week said he has not given up on Sunnyside.

Alaa El Mihdawy, who has run “One of a Kind Thrift Shop” at 45-05 Queens Blvd for the past 20 years, said that he is searching for new space in Sunnyside while he also opens a new store in Astoria this month.

El Mihdawy said the main reason he is closing his Queens Blvd store is that the rent is too high. “It was $7,000, including real estate taxes,” he said, adding that the rent kept creeping up 5% each year.

“That’s a big nut to carry,” he said.

El Mihdawy, however, is reluctant to leave Sunnyside and has plans to open another store in the neighborhood.

“I have built a lot of close friends over the years,” he said. “It’s like I have family here.”

The Queens Blvd store was best known for its selection of books that were placed out front, which often featured subjects such as cooking and philosophy. Inside, shoppers often sought leather jackets and vintage clothing.

El Mihdawy said he is looking for space on 43rd Avenue and other sections of Queens Blvd—since there are already two thrift shops on Greenpoint Ave.

He said he looked at the space where the Meat Boutique was located but was disappointed to find that the rent was similar to what he is paying now.

El Mihdawy, meanwhile, is expected to open a 5,000 sqf. space on Ditmars Blvd/31st Street in two weeks. He did not disclose what his new rent is.

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Does anyone know the address of the new shop he opened? I couldn’t find it on Ditmars and 31st Street, as it was too cold to be especially thorough.


It is my suggestion that any new landlord should call the previous landlord for a reference. I a sure you it will not be a good one. I see the landlord has been trying to clean the place up!


His store was disgusting. Complete fire hazard. I’m sure the landlord had a real good reason to get rid of him. Like the fact he wasn’t paying his rent. There’s a marshals notice of eviction on the window, in New York City to evict someone is extremly hard and the courts always side with the tenant. So for the landlord to evict he most of owned a lot of money. I hope he pays his new landlord.


I am so bummed about this store closing, I cannot count how many books I have bought from him over the past 10+ years, but yeah, the inside of the store was a nightmare of clutter and no room to move. Sorry to see it go though..I will miss it! On another note, the thrift store over on Greenpoint, the newer one, is like heaven to walk through, and the book selection there is very good.

Ignorance is Bliss Street

I’ve browsed some of the books outside the store but refuse to dig my way through the claustrophobia-inducing piles of clutter inside. I’m sure it’s a fire hazard as well. Wherever this guy winds up, he’ll do much better if he tidies the place up a bit, I mean a lot.


It’s really unfortunate to the Sunnyside neighborhood. Rents are far too high to keep well- established local businesses alive, and to keep Sunnyside a desirable place to live.


See all my previous posts on why naming the neighborhood a Business Improvement District did nothing for the people who live and work here and everything to do with the dirtbag landlords.


I don’t understand this neighborhood’s landlords. Who do they think will be moving in to take his place?

Anyhoos, great news that he is staying. Maybe 47th Ave would work? Much cheaper rents, obviously.


seems like all of the spaces vacated because the rent was raised ‘too damn high’ stay that way.

Celtic Bark

These money-lusting landlords can go shove it. They won’t be happy till the whole blvd is nothing but banks, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.

Packard Streeter

They might want to try paring down the merch to make walking room. I love thrifts but in this place it’s impossible to move down the aisles and shop.


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