Tag Archives: Queens Boulevard

Rapper Chinx murdered in Briarwood drive-by shooting


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@chinxmusic

Updated Monday, May 18, 9:55 a.m.

An up-and-coming rapper from Ozone Park was killed in a drive-by shooting at a Briarwood intersection early Sunday morning, police reported.

Officers from the 107th Precinct, in responding to a 911 call about the shooting, found two victims at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 84th Drive at about 4:04 a.m.

Authorities said 31-year-old Lionel Pickens was shot multiple times about his body. Pickens — a rapper better known by his stage name Chinx — was pronounced dead upon arrival at Jamaica Hospital.

The second victim, a 27-year-old man, was brought to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the back.

According to police, Pickens and the other victim were riding in a vehicle at the intersection when an unknown vehicle pulled up. An unidentified shooter in the other vehicle then pulled out a gun and opened fire at the victims before speeding away from the scene.

An investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Instagram/@we_r_legion

Photo via Instagram/@we_r_legion

Pickens grew up in Far Rockaway and was “paving his musical path since an early age,” according to the biography on his website. He got his start in hip-hop with the late rapper Stack Bundles as The Riot Squad.

In 2005, Pickens began a prison sentence after being convicted on robbery and drug possession charges. He was released in 2008, then relaunched his rap career with French Montana.

As Chinx, Pickens gained a following among hip-hop fans with his 2012 release of “I’m a Coke Boy.” He also created a mixtape trilogy, “Cocaine Riot,” featuring many top rap stars.

Reportedly, Pickens was slated to release his latest album, “Welcome to JFK,” later this year.

“Chinx was one of the most talented, professional and determined rappers this industry had to offer,” Chanel Rae, his publicist, said in a statement posted on The Legions Group Instagram account. “Furthermore, he was a friend.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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See it: Fully renovated English Tudor in Forest Hills Gardens for nearly $2.8M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty

Tucked away a few blocks from the 75th Avenue Queens Boulevard subway station, and within walking distance of the bustling Austin Street commercial strip in Forest Hills, homebuyers will find a fully renovated English Tudor.

Although the residence, located at 44 Seasongood Rd. in Forest Hills Gardens, is close to a variety of retailers, restaurants and transportation, the house provides a quiet and private atmosphere similar to the suburbs. This best-of-both-worlds home is priced at $2.79 million and listed with Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty.

Completely renovated with all new windows, hardwood floors, cabinetry and fixtures, the residence reflects a modern charm although it was built in 1925.

It features a large kitchen and spacious living room, and there are five bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. There is also a private rear garden for parties and family gatherings.

There will be an open house for the Tudor home on Sunday, May 17, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


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Taste of Sunnyside to feature 28 local restaurants, music and performances


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines

Foodies will once again be able to have some delicious fun under the 7 train next week in Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District is presenting its 2015 Taste of Sunnyside, a one-of-a-kind culinary event highlighting 28 local restaurants, on May 19 under the elevated 7 line at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard.

After receiving an “overwhelmingly positive response” last year, the event, which will go from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., will once again be held in a block-long tent.

“Bringing all the flavors of Sunnyside into one visible food festival is an amazing opportunity for local residents and visitors alike to discover their new favorite restaurant, and a great way to help promote Sunnyside as a restaurant destination,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “Last year’s event exceeded our wildest expectations and we’re excited to be back under the 7 train again this year to sample all this delicious food.”

The food festival will feature sample treats from 28 restaurants including Salt and Fat and Venturo Osteria, which were both recognized by Michelin as a Bib Gourmand pick for 2015.

Many of Sunnyside’s newest restaurants are participating this year, including the neighborhood’s two new Tibetan restaurants, Tibetan Dumpling Café and Punda Tibetan Restaurant, as well as Dumplings & Things, Nonna Gina Brick Oven Pizzeria, Blu Orchid and the yet-to-open Italian restaurant Soleluna.

All of the participating restaurants will allow diners to travel the world without leaving the comfort of Queens. The full list of eateries includes Tibetan Dumpling Cafe (Tibetan), Los Verdes (Colombian), Blu Orchid (Thai), Claret Wine Bar (Wine Bar), PJ Horgans (Irish Pub), Tito Rad’s Grill (Filipino), Dog and Duck (Irish Gastropub) De Mole (Mexican), Bliss Street Station (Irish Pub), Dumplings & Things (Chinese), I Love Paraguay (Paraguayan), Aubergine Cafe (American), Arriba Arriba (Mexican), Los Pollos Restaurant (Peruvian), Bliss 46 Bistro (French), Nonna Gina Brick Oven Pizza (Italian), Punda Tibetan Restaurant (Tibetan), Copper Kettle (Irish Pub), Sidetracks (Irish American Pub), Tealicious Express (Bubble Tea and Juice Bar), Soleluna (Italian), 43 Bar and Grill (Irish American Pub), Murphy’s Lobster Grill (seafood), Salt and Fat (New American), Venturo Osteria (Seasonal Italian), White Castle (American), Dazies and Jack’s Fire Dept.

Bites and beverages will also be provided by event sponsors Associated Marketplace, Fresh n Save Marketplace, Lowery Wines and Liquors, Queens Brewery and SingleCut Brewery.

Further promoting the diversity in the neighborhood, the Taste of Sunnyside will include a full lineup of performers, including a presentation from the Thalia Spanish Theatre with Danza España and flamenco dancers. Also performing will be local subway brass band Sunnyside Social Club, and the Underground Horns.

The Sunnyside Shines BID is also offering a “shop local” promotion where customers who download a Taste of Sunnyside Local Discount Card, available to download at www.tasteofsunnyside.com, will receive deals with participating business through May 31.

Tickets for the Taste of Sunnyside are on sale at www.tasteofsunnyside.com.

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First phase of $100M Queens Boulevard redesign to be implemented by August


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of the Department of Transportation

The voices of a concerned community have been heard, and by August, the first segment of the redesign of what is known as the “Boulevard of Death” is expected to be implemented to make it safer.

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Tuesday that it would be releasing a detailed preliminary plan to redesign a 1.3-mile portion of Queens Boulevard. The plan is based on community input gathered during a safety workshop held on Jan. 22 in Woodside.

This project, which will be reviewed by Community Board 2 and is expected to be implemented in August, launches the start of the DOT’s $100 million Green Streets initiative, which will cover all seven miles of Queens Boulevard.

The agency plans to hold more public workshops during the fall and winter for the future phases of the initiative, from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue and from Eliot Avenue to Union Turnpike.

“After decades of crashes, many of them fatal, this corridor has been reimagined and will be redesigned to become a safer, greener and more attractive corridor for residents and businesses, suitable to traverse through the World’s Borough,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

The first phase of the redesign, which includes the installation of a protected bike lane, covers the 1.3-mile stretch of the thoroughfare between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

The agency previously said it decided to focus on this section first because statistics showed there have been six fatalities since 2009 in that particular area.

Some of the features of the first redesign segment include safer crossings, increased pedestrian space and improved intersections. The preliminary plan also looks to calm the traffic on service roads and try to reduce the number of times drivers move between the main line and service roads.

Unique redesigns include a protected bike lane integrated into a widened service road median, with new pedestrian space and median-to-median crossings that “allow for a linear park-like experience,” according to the DOT.

“This work represented a major advancement in the efforts to achieve Vision Zero throughout our city,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Thanks to the work of the DOT, we are seeing significant improvements in traffic safety in western Queens, and we look forward to seeing Queens Boulevard safety improvements thanks to this $100 million capital investment.”

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Fire truck and car collision in Briarwood leaves five injured


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A collision between a fire truck and car in Briarwood on Thursday night left five people, including two firefighters, hurt, the FDNY said.

The two vehicles crashed into each other at Hillside Avenue and Queens Boulevard about 6:30 p.m.

Three people were taken to Jamaica Hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

Two firefighters, who suffered minor injuries, were transported to Queens Hospital Center.

The cause of the crash is reportedly under investigation.

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First safety workshop held for Queens Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Community officials, residents, family members of traffic accident victims and survivors got the chance Wednesday night to give their input on putting an end to fatal crashes on the “Boulevard of Death.”

The Department of Transportation held the first Queens Boulevard Safety Workshop at P.S. 11 in Woodside to discuss the future of a stretch of the busy thoroughfare between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

The agency said it decided to focus on this section first because statistics show there have been six fatalities since 2009 in that particular area. Last year, the speed limit on Queens Boulevard was lowered to 25 mph as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative.

“The Mayor made it clear that improving Queens Boulevard is a priority and so Wednesday night NYCDOT will host a safety workshop to hear the community’s concerns and ideas,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “That workshop is only the first step in a more comprehensive process to reimagine and redesign the boulevard as a safer, greener, more attractive corridor for residents and businesses.”

During the workshop, over 100 members of the public were able to sit down with DOT facilitators in groups at several tables in the school’s cafeteria. The agency’s representatives then went over the options for improvements that can be done on the thoroughfare and asked that each person draw on a map of Queens Boulevard, provided at each table, any suggestions they have.

Among those present were members of Families for Safe Streets, made up of a group of family members of victims of traffic accidents and survivors.

“We’re really asking for them to take a really bold stand and do a complete redesign of Queens Boulevard,” said Ellen Foote, a member of Families for Safe Streets whose 27-year-old son was killed while riding his bicycle home. “We want to turn the ‘Boulevard of Death’ to the ‘Boulevard of Life.’”

Foote added that with the popularity of Queens increasing, she sees Queens Boulevard as the place to start making changes. She urged the DOT to take the community’s input and statistics and come up with a plan.

“We should make it a model not just for New York City, but the world,” Foote said.

Among the suggestions voiced by the public were creating protected bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes, making street medians longer and wider, adding street regulations to reduce speeding, and increasing the amount of time to cross Queens Boulevard.

Ralph Munoz, a Kew Gardens resident who lost both his mother and brother to traffic accidents, in separate incidents, sees the workshops as positive moves to making the streets safer. He added that he sees many cars speeding near where he lives.

“The [speed limit] law is new. People need to learn. It takes time. But if people want to do it, they can be a very responsible driver. People just need to be more responsible with their car,” Munoz said. “It’s a discipline and it’s a change to keep people safe.”

Munoz is a new member of Families for Safe Streets and says he plans to attend future workshops for Queens Boulevard, especially for the stretch of the strip near where he lives.

“It’s good to be involved and helping with this type of thing because you don’t want other families to go through this,” Munoz said.

The DOT will now take the input from the workshop and use it to come up with recommendations for Queens Boulevard. There are also plans for future workshops for the road.

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North Shore Towers is city’s most popular building complex in 2014


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

There is plenty to celebrate at the North Shore Towers.

Not only will the Floral Park building complex be marking its 40th birthday in 2015, but the towers were New York City’s most popular buildings in terms of sales by a wide margin last year, according to a published report based on data from real estate website PropertyShark.

That’s right, the three-building co-op at 272-40 Grand Central Pkwy. sold 115 units last year, which is 35 more units than the runner-up.

With everything from tennis courts, a pool, a fitness center, a movie theater, a golf course and annual events, the towers attract homeowners of all ages, and that could be the reason for the high number of sales.

To be fair, the median price of an apartment in the complex is about $495,000, which is quite a bit lower than the runner-up, a Manhattan building named The Jefferson, which had a median price of $1.72 million.

Honorable mentions

Some other Queens buildings made the most popular top 10, including Woodside Terrace Condo in Maspeth, which finished in fourth place with 76 units. The buildings, located at 63-14 Queens Blvd., has just 96 total apartments. Nearly 80 percent of its capacity was filled last year.

Coming in at number six is The Vista at 44-15 Purves St, which sold 48 units last year. The buildings are among Queens’ newest luxury residential developments.

And The Bay Club in Bayside took ninth place after selling 44 units last year. But the article points out the condominium has more than 1,000 units, so selling under 4 percent isn’t that much of an accomplishment.

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Sunnyside movie theater closing for residential development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Modern Spaces

And that’s a wrap for Sunnyside Center Cinemas.

The longtime neighborhood movie theater at 45-25 Queens Blvd. will be closing on Jan. 4, according to a published report, after its lease was not renewed because the owner wants to make way for a residential development.

The property was bought in 2012 for $6.65 million from Dime Savings Bank by John Ciafone, husband of Gina Argento, who is the president of film production firm Broadway Stages.

The new owner hopes to lease the ground floor, which has 52,000 square feet of air rights, for $750,000 a year to a developer looking to build a residential structure above, Sunnyside Post first reported.

“I’d like to bring much-needed affordable housing to the Sunnyside community, and I’m currently in the process of looking for a development partner with extensive affordable housing experience,” Ciafone said.

The property is currently being marketed by real estate firm Modern Spaces. The bar next door, PJ Horgan’s, which is also a tenant on the property, will remain open. And although the cinema is closing, Ciafone said that there might be a chance for it to return.

“Once the project is complete, I’d be more than happy to sit down with the owner of Center Cinemas to discuss lease opportunities,” Ciafone said.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

WHERE

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside 

image2-624x467

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Sunnyside BID encourages residents to ‘shop local’ for holidays


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

On this year’s Small Business Saturday, one business improvement district is making sure residents keep it local.

The Sunnyside Shines BID is celebrating Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29 with a kickoff event in Bliss Plaza, one of two new pedestrian plazas under the elevated No. 7 train, and with the release of Sunnyside’s first-ever Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide.

“We really want people to reengage with the local businesses here in Sunnyside,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the BID. “There are just so many opportunities and we do have a good variety of retail [in Sunnyside] and we really wanted to highlight that in this guide and showcase that there are so many different types of ideas here.”

The guide, which was created in partnership with students at LaGuardia Community College, is a full-color, printed brochure that features holiday gift ideas from 22 local shops. Residents that live in the area the BID covers will receive the guides in the mail next week.

Czarinna Andres, owner of Bing’s Hallmark, located at 45-15 Greenpoint Ave., said she is delighted the holiday gift guide will help promote local businesses like her own.

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

“Every bit of publicity helps local businesses. Launching the gift guide on Small Business Saturday is a perfect way to make the community more aware of the importance of shopping locally,” Andres said.

Seda Bagdasarya, owner of the jewelry shop That’s Incredible at 45-21 Greenpoint Ave., also hopes this guide will help improve business and bring more customers.

“It’s going to be very good,” Bagdasarya said. “It could be very helpful for business and I hope it continues every year.”

The Small Business Saturday kickoff event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at Bliss Plaza, located on Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. It will feature free giveaways including the guide and Small Business Saturday-branded tote bags, while supplies last. There will also be live music from the Sunnyside Social Club.

“Resources like the Sunnyside Shines Shop Local Holiday Gift are creative, important tools to help promote local businesses and engage residents as they start shopping for the holiday season,” said Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services, who encourages New Yorkers to shop locally this Small Business Saturday and beyond.

For more information, visit www.sunnysideshines.org.

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Inside St. John’s Hospital’s transformation into Queens Pointe development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

After about a year of construction, the former St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst is beginning to look more and more like the new Queens Pointe residential and retail destination it will become.

The hospital, which closed in 2009, was acquired by a group of Asian-based investors for more than $50 million late last year, according to property records and published reports. Since that time, construction has been taking place to transform the 90-08 Queens Blvd. site’s interior space.

The seven-story building will have about 150 luxury rental apartments and a penthouse level with six units on the top four floors, while the basement, first and second floors will be used for a mix of community facility space and retail.

Construction on most of the apartments is almost complete and appliances have already been brought into some of the units.

The penthouse level features apartments with nearly 16-foot ceilings and views of the Manhattan skyline, as well as the Queens Center and Queens Place malls, which are across Queens Boulevard.

Marketing for the residential side of the building will begin early next year, according to a representative of Winick Realty Group, which is handling sales in Queens Pointe.

Marketing for the first floor and basement level, which are about 64,000 square feet combined, started months ago and received interest from various companies, including a gym, a supermarket and a clothing retailer. But the first floor and basement still have much interior construction remaining.

Representatives are negotiating with a school and a senior center to occupy part of the second floor. Construction on the second floor is partially complete, with new flooring, paint, ceiling tiles and lighting.

The development also includes a 250-spot parking garage across the street at 87-28 58th Ave., which will be available to retail customers and residents. Currently the parking facility has fading paint and graffiti, but there are plans to renovate the garage as well.

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Suspect wanted for questioning in deadly shooting outside Elmhurst club


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Suspect photo courtesy of NYPD/ Club photo by Salvatore Licata

Police have released the photo of a suspect wanted in connection to a shooting outside an Elmhurst club last month that left one dead and two others injured.

The gunfire erupted about 4 a.m. on Oct. 31 near Club Hive NYC, located on Queens Boulevard between Barnwell and Cornish avenues, cops said.

After a “disorderly crowd” dispersed into the street, an unknown gunman started firing and hit three people, according to police. The shooting was sparked by a dispute inside the club that spilled onto the street, reports said.

Tamar Sermons, 20, of Laurelton, who was hit in the neck and leg, was killed in the shooting.

A 21-year-old woman, who was shot in the buttocks and the leg, and a 31-year-old man, who suffered a graze wound to the head, were injured.

Authorities are now looking a man to question in the murder of Sermons. He is described as a black man in his 20s who was last seen wearing a shirt with the number 99 on it.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Real estate roundup: 1,789-unit, three-tower project planned for LIC, Astoria Cove developers to hire union labor


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner

1,789-Unit, Three-Tower Tishman Speyer Project in Long Island City

“Now, permits have been filed for the mega-development, and it’s gotten a bit bigger: 1,789 apartments will now be included across the complex, which takes up two blocks bounded by Jackson Avenue, Orchard Street, Sunnyside Yards, and Queens Boulevard.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Astoria Cove developers agree to hire union labor

The City Council and the developers of Astoria Cove have reached a tentative agreement to hire union workers for the construction phase of the Queens waterfront residential and commercial redevelopment project.” Read more [Capital]

Progress stalled at 27-05 41st Avenue

“When we stopped by last week, we noticed that little to nothing had changed since QBS’ last visit. ETA on the “six-story, 44-unit mixed-use building with 30,041 square feet of residential space and 6,970 square feet of commercial space” was originally at the end of this year, but obviously the developers won’t reach that goal.” Read more [The Court Square Blog]

George Xu aims to bring another hotel to Flushing

“The owners of the Century Development Group Corporation applied for permits to construct a 214,000-square-foot mixed use building at 137-45 Northern Boulevard, the location of a Great Wall Supermarket.” Read more [The Real Deal] 

One dead, two injured in shooting outside Elmhurst club


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Updated Saturday, Nov. 1, 4:03 p.m.

A shooting outside an Elmhurst club early Friday morning left one woman dead and two others injured, according to police.

The gunfire started at about 4 a.m. near Club Hive NYC, located on Queens Boulevard between Barnwell and Cornish avenues, authorities said.

The shooting was sparked by a dispute inside the club that spilled into the street, reports said. After a “disorderly crowd” dispersed into the street, an unknown gunman started firing and hit three people, according to police.

A 20-year-old woman, Tamar Sermons, of Laurelton, was shot in the neck and leg, authorities said. She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

A 21-year-old woman who was shot in the buttocks and the leg, and a 31-year-old man who suffered a graze wound to the head are both listed in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

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Second Sunnyside pedestrian plaza officially opens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Sunnyside residents will now have more room to get together and enjoy the outdoors.

The second of two new pedestrian plazas opened in the neighborhood Friday afternoon at the intersection of 40th Street and Queens Boulevard, under the elevated No. 7 train.

Transformed from an underutilized underpass, the plaza includes tables, chairs and decorative plants. It was named Lowery Plaza after 40th Street’s original name, Lowery Street.

“The opening of Lowery Plaza is great news for Sunnyside residents,” Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall said. “This new local destination will significantly improve the life of residents and the vitality of local businesses in Sunnyside and Queens.”

The plaza is part of the DOT’s NYC Plaza Program and will be managed by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District.

Local elected officials, leaders and business owners cut the ribbon opening Lowery Plaza.

Local elected officials, leaders and business owners cut the ribbon opening Lowery Plaza.

“This is something that the community is starving for, more open space and more space to come together as a community,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “The opening of this plaza on 40th Street, just like Bliss Plaza on 46th Street, is a sign of Sunnyside’s continued growth as a destination neighborhood for New Yorkers.”

In July, Bliss Plaza opened at the intersection of 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. The site also includes tables, chairs and planters. This project included leveling out a street to create a one-level pedestrian area

“We have received such positive feedback from community members and business owners about the success of Bliss Plaza, and I’m delighted to replicate this success at Lowery Plaza,” said Rachel Thieme, Sunnyside Shines BID executive director. “The plazas are fantastic neighborhood amenities and true gathering places in Sunnyside.”

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