Tag Archives: Sunnyside

Rep. King discuses homeland security over JFK Airport Chamber of Commerce breakfast


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

While JFK may be the “safest airport” in the country, far too many people do not take homeland security seriously enough, U.S. Rep. Peter King told an airport civic group on Wednesday.

King, speaking at a JFK Airport Chamber of Commerce breakfast, said airport workers, including Transportation Security Administration and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey personnel, have been successful in hardening the facility against terrorist attacks.

“This is the safest airport in the United States because of these people,” King said.

But, he added, many people are lax on the issue of security.

“Too many people in the U.S. do not take homeland security seriously enough,” said the 11-year congressman. “It is important that we stay aware.

“New York is the number one target [for terrorists].”

King was introduced by Tom Kelliher, president of the Chamber, as “the leader in the ongoing effort of homeland security,” an important topic to one of the nation’s busiest airports.

Raised in Sunnyside, King is the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and now chairs a subcommittee on counter-terrorism.

He is outspoken on terror and security issues.

“The reality is [some] people in this country have foreign ideology,” he said. “Al-Qaida is adaptive.”

Though the hot topic was the nation’s security, King also discussed the issue of federal funding for Superstorm Sandy victims in New York.

“We had to fight tooth and nail for funding,” he said.

He noted that there had been conflict with insurance companies but the issues have been resolved and the money is now coming through to homeowners and businesses.

“Overall,” he said, “the job is being done and districts are coming back.”

 

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PHOTOS: Taste of Sunnyside


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Michael Rapp

Dozens of restaurants participated in the 2014 Taste of Sunnyside, a food festival to celebrate the neighborhood’s cuisine, culture, and community.

Food lovers from all over New York City were invited to dine out on Queens Boulevard on Tuesday, May 20, between 45th and 46th streets, under the elevated No. 7 train.

The neighborhood, known for its Irish pubs and spirit, is showing the world that while it still honors its past traditions, it’s also become a haven for new talent.

Taste of Sunnyside is hosted by Sunnyside Shines in partnership with Edible Queens. A portion of the ticket proceeds benefit beautification projects in Sunnyside.

 

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Reconstructed Sunnyside park to honor local veterans


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Jim Breuer  and Noreen Haddad were never able to say goodbye to their brother, lay flowers on a casket or visit him in a cemetery. Sunnyside resident Donald C. Breuer was 26 years old when he was killed in action in 1972 during the Vietnam War and his body was never recovered.

Now, after 42 years, Breuer will live on in the neighborhood he called home and in a park he and his siblings visited at a young age.

Breuer’s name, which is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., will now become part of a list of veterans from Sunnyside and Woodside that is being engraved on a commemorative plaque at L. CPL Thomas P. Noonan Playground.

“This was our Central Park, this was the park to come and play,” said Jim, who now lives in the Bronx. “It is going to be wonderful to see his name here. I think [our mom] would be very touched.”

The plaque is part of the reconstruction and renovation of the Sunnyside playground, which was named after Lance Corporal Thomas P. Noonan who was also killed in action attempting to rescue members of his company and later awarded the Medal of Honor.

“Noonan Playground is an important community hub for our seniors, families and local children,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said Friday during the official ground breaking of the playground’s reconstruction. “The renovations will make the park safer for children and forever commemorate the sacrifices our local veterans made for this great nation.

Van Bramer allocated $2 million to redesign and expand the local playground as well as have a granite slab added to the base of the park’s flagpole as a monument to Noonan. The city’s Parks Department also received additional funding to renovated the basketball and handball courts.

The renovation of the park, which is expected to be completed in one year, will include the addition of play equipment, a play area for children from 2 to 5 years old and another for children 5 to 12 years old, and a new rainbow spray shower. Additional planted areas are also being created within the playground along Greenpoint Avenue and 43rd Street. Lighting will also be improved, the main entrance will be partially reconstructed and new bike racks, benches, paving and fencing will be installed.

Two years ago Van Bramer launched a Noonan Park Community Design Initiative, which brought in community suggestions from students of nearby P.S. 199 and residents on what they wanted to be done at the park.

“I believe great parks equal great neighborhoods and with the feedback we have received from the community we will rebuild a better playground that everyone can enjoy,” Van Bramer said.

 

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Dmytro Fedkowskyj announces candidacy for NYS Assembly


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Dmytro Fedkowskyj

KATRINA MEDOFF

Dmytro Fedkowskyj, longtime resident and civic leader of the 30th Assembly District, officially announced his Democratic candidacy for the New York State Assembly on Saturday, in front of Maspeth High School.

“I’ve spent the last 10 years safeguarding the educational interest of our parents, students and school communities, but now I want to safeguard and protect the interest of all our residents, which is why I’m running for the State Assembly,” Fedkowskyj said. “This campaign will be about the people, not the politics.”

District 30 is comprised of Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Long Island City, Middle Village, Astoria and Sunnyside.

The district’s current assemblywoman, Marge Markey, who has held the seat since 1998, has said she is planning on running again.

Fedkowskyj is a Middle Village resident and has served as a member of the Community Education Council of District 24; as chair of the School Construction and Zoning Committee; and as a trustee for the city’s Board of Education Retirement System.

A former member of the city’s Panel for Education Policy (PEP), which serves to improve the welfare of schools and students in the city, Fedkowskyj is an advocate for more funding for education. During the announcement, he spoke about the need for more seats to relieve overcrowding in schools as well as the need for extended yellow bus service.

He supports the pending NYC Council’s Audible Alarms Bill that requires a door alarm to be installed on the outer doors of the city’s schools.

For crime prevention, he plans to advocate for increased state funding to hire more police and emergency personnel.

On the subject of taxes, he said that “it’s unconscionable to increase taxes on the working middle class, so I will only support a plan that keeps income and property taxes at their lowest possible levels. We need our middle class families to keep as much of their earned income as possible.”

Additionally, he said that he will support the Senior Citizens’ Exemption, which helps senior homeowners by reducing their property taxes so that they can continue to live in their homes.

He said he aims to advocate for equal pay and for closing the wage gap for working women.

Fedkowskyj said he also hopes to improve quality of life in the district by creating more green spaces, minimizing petty vandalism and upgrading technology in libraries and community centers.

 

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Sunnyside to get two new public plazas


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Artie Weiner

Sunnyside will soon have two new public spaces that residents can enjoy during the summer.

Last year, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) applied for the Department of Transportation’s NYC Plaza Program and early this month were notified that the applications were accepted.

“Through this innovative program, we will expand the amount of public space that is available to everyone in the community,” Councilman JimmyVan Bramer said. “I look forward to working with Sunnyside Shines BID, members of the community, and local arts groups to bring the space to life through a diverse array of public events, programming and cultural performances.”

The plazas will be located under the elevated No. 7 train line at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard, and 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. Both locations currently are closed to vehicles.

The Sunnyside Shines BID will work as the nonprofit partner to maintain the plazas and program yearly community events and activities in it.

“As more and more New Yorkers come to know Sunnyside as a great place to live, work and play, I’m sure exciting announcements like the forthcoming public plazas will keep on coming,” Senator Michael Gianaris said.

These two public plazas will receive improvements such as planters, benches and movable tables and chairs, in order to create public gathering places for the neighborhood.

“The NYC Plaza Program has done a tremendous job creating new usable, public spaces throughout the city, and we are thrilled to bring this innovative program to Sunnyside,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “We look forward to making these spaces more vibrant public places in the neighborhood.”

A community outreach meeting to go over design and programming options is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-13 39th St.

 

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Minibar app now available to western Queens residents


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Minibar

Western Queens residents can now have their favorite drink delivered to their door in under 60 minutes via a new app.

Minibar, which first debuted in Brooklyn and Manhattan in February, launched in Queens on Wednesday. The innovative app, available for free in the Apple store and servicing Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside, allows users to order wine and liquor with just the tap of a finger.

The app connects vendors with users based on zip code, and once a vendor is selected, a drop down menu, featuring available inventory at the local liquor store, shows up. The drinks are then placed in a cart and users can select an amount for delivery tips. Once the order , which requires a $25 minimum, is placed, an confirmation email is sent and the items are delivered in one hour or less.

“We are incredibly excited to launch Minibar in Queens, making home entertaining as seamless and easy as possible in these neighborhood within the borough,” Lara Crystal, Minibar co-founder and co-CEO, said. “With virtually everything available at your fingertips, it’s time to make alcohol just as easy to order to your home.”

Following legal age requirements for purchasing alcohol, Minibar users will have to confirm they are of legal drinking age before placing an order and upon delivery vendors are responsible for verifying IDs.

The app allows its users to indicate if the order is a gift. Upcoming features will also include personalized order suggestion based on previous purchases and recommendations on what foods to have with the drinks.

 

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Sunnyside, Elmhurst buildings sell for $50M


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A Manhattan management group has sold four of its Queens buildings for $50 million, according to The Real Deal.

Urban American sold the multi-family properties in Sunnyside and Elmhurst at 43-31 45th Street, 41-96 Gleane Street, 87-40 Elmhurst Avenue and 87-42 Elmhurst Avenue to Great Neck-based firm Benedict Realty Group (BRG), The Real Deal reported.

BRG already owns about 1,800 units nearby, according to the website.

The publication previously reported Urban American had signed an agreement to sell five multi-family buildings in Far Rockaway for $52 million to E&M Associates.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Sun and clouds mixed. High 54. Winds W at 15 to 25 mph. Thursday night: A clear sky. Low 34. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: LIC Partnership Networking Night

Join the LIC Partnership for our next Networking Night at See.Me. Explore the gallery’s current exhibit Year in Review, opening during Armory Arts Week. Meet your business and community neighbors over a wine and cheese tasting with wines provided by SquareWine & Spirits and cheese from LIC newcomer Artisanal Premium Cheese. Starts at 6 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police find gun, drug stash in Sunnyside home

Cops busted a Sunnyside man Wednesday after uncovering an arsenal of guns, ammunition and drugs in his home. Read more: The Queens Courier

Queens man sold hundreds of counterfeit coins: police

A Queens man has been accused of selling hundreds of counterfeit silver dollars to three Long Island stores, police say. Read more: NBC New York

MTA to install cameras, audio recorders on MNR, LIRR trains
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Wednesday that it plans to install video cameras and audio recorders on most Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road trains. Read more: CBS New York/AP

‘Mansion Tax’ produces geyser of revenue for New York
These members of the 1 percent are bringing smiles to the state’s tax collectors. Read more: New York Post

‘Credible lead’ investigated in search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane
 Authorities say 18 ships, 29 planes and 6 helicopters are searching for two large objects deemed a “credible lead” in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Read more: AP

Police find gun, drug stash in Sunnyside home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Cops busted a Sunnyside man Wednesday after uncovering an arsenal of guns, ammunition and drugs in his home.

As a part of an ongoing investigation, just after midnight, members of the Emergency Services and the Patrol Borough Queens North Anti-Crime units executed a search warrant at the 44th Street residence of 42 year-old Daniel Tone, police said.

Inside authorities found four loaded firearms, three imitation pistols, 169 rounds of ammunition, seven marijuana plants, approximately 17.5 grams of crack, 136 Hydromorphone pills and 48 Xanax pills, the NYPD said.

They also seized $3,124 in cash during the search.

Tone has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of controlled substance, criminal sale of controlled substance, unlawful possession of a marijuana and violation of local law, according to police.

 

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Sofra opens in Sunnyside


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Bradley Hawks

BRADLEY HAWKS

Sofra is the newest arrival on the scene in terms of restaurants that are serving a broad variety of authentic Mediterranean cuisine. And while the term “Mediterranean” may be used as a wider label for what this restaurant is about, deep at its heart, the restaurant is beautifully Turkish. This can be seen in the lahmacuns that are stuffed like little pastry boats filled with tender ground lamb crumbles, or the numerous varieties of grilled meats, served as meatballs on skewers, cubed, or available on fresh pita.

Any of the starters can easily combine to make a meal. Grape leaves are rolled carefully around a Greek salad that smells of a sweet perfume. Phyllo is rolled lengthwise around feta, parsley and tomato to create little cigars of bourek. Baba ganush sings of tahini and tender roasted eggplant and spicy peppers are carefully diced into a dip known as ezme. And the hummus — smooth as the purple velvet stripes lining the dining room chairs.

Seafood is satisfying as well. Shrimp arrives stewed in a tomato sauce with hearty chunks of freshly cubed vegetables. Trout is served with a wonderful lemon caper sauce, and salmon is served in a creamy blend of olives, mushrooms and tomatoes. These are some of the best Turkish recipes being served in New York City.

The Turks are a passionate people, and the owners here are no exception. Guests sit and sip coffee or tea long after their bronzini is carted away.

Owners Kaan Oralis and Yuvuz Gülü have been friends for more than 20 years, bringing together experience in restaurants and hotels such as the Ritz Carlton, Plaza Hotel and Waldorf Astoria, where Oralis is still a banquet server a couple of nights a week. So it came as no surprise that the two decided to take a stab at running their own restaurant. And man, did it payoff.

For a grand finale, nibble on homemade honey-soaked desserts and baked puddings with tea and a strong demitasse of Turkish coffee. When you finish, don’t be startled when you are expecting a check and the waitress asks if you have a moment before proceeding to turn over the coffee mug allowing the grinds to drip slowly onto the saucer. And don’t be surprised if she then reads your fortune in the shapes and patterns of those coffee grinds.

Eventually the two owners plan on serving tapas with abundant outdoor seating.  But, for now, the flatbreads, grilled meats and baklava are far more than enough.

Sofra Mediterranean
43-02 43rd Ave., Sunnyside
718-706-0600

 

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Congressmember Crowley kicks of re-election campaign


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Dominick Totino Photography

Congressmember Joseph Crowley has launched his re-election campaign.

Crowley, who was first elected to Congress in 1998, was voted in last year to represent sections of Queens and the Bronx in the 14th Congressional District.

He officially kicked off his campaign for re-election on Sunday, March 9, in Sunnyside, though no opponents have declared their candidacies as of yet.

“It has been my privilege to represent the people of one of the most diverse districts in the country, and I am excited to announce I’ll be seeking re-election to continue to focus on the issues that matter most,” Crowley said.

The announcement came as the Woodside native gathered with other elected officials and supporters during his fifth annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Sidetracks Restaurant.

“Too many families are still struggling to get by and we need to break the gridlock in Congress to get our country moving forward again,” he said. “Using my position in the elected leadership of the House Democratic Caucus, I am fully committed to making a real difference in people’s lives. That means putting New Yorkers back to work, raising the minimum wage, protecting social services that are vital to our most vulnerable communities, and fighting hard to make immigration reform a reality.”

Recently, Crowley introduced the On-The-Job Training Act that would guarantee American workers are able to gain new skills to both compete and succeed in the job market.

 

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Sunnyside Shines BID launches programs to help business district


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Michael Rapp

One local business improvement district (BID) is looking to help Sunnyside “shine.”

The Sunnyside Shines BID recently launched two major programs that aim to help improve businesses and the overall neighborhood of Sunnyside.

The first of the initiatives is the gate replacement program which will help businesses replace their solid metal gates with open grille gates. During the pilot program, up to five businesses within the BID will be able to recover half of the cost — up to $1,000 — of a new gate. The BID will be accepting applications for this program through April 15 and will review them at a first-come, first-served basis.

“We really hope to help improve the look and feel of the district,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “Sunnyside is a very safe district and we want the shopping district to reflect that. This is a great neighborhood and we want to help business.”

Thieme added that if this program goes well during the first year, the BID will look to help more businesses the following year.

The second initiative is one that hopes to attract new retail into the neighborhood.

Thanks to the City’s Department of Small Business Services’ Neighborhood Development Division, the BID has been matched with real estate consultant JGSC Group to look at how retail is doing in the neighborhood.

During one of the reports, it was found that residents spend close to $227 million each year outside of Sunnyside and also that the neighborhood has more businesses that offer services, rather than goods.

“Sunnyside residents spend on most of the goods and services outside the neighborhood and we want to capture some of that spending at our local businesses,” Thieme said. “We want to give people more reasons to shop locally.”

After conducting its own shopper survey last summer, the BID found that some of the type of retailers residents would like to see are clothing stores, housewares, more full service restaurants, independent coffee shops and a bike shop.

Thieme said the next step would be to send marketing tools to 200 retailers in the city that might want to come and open up shop in Sunnyside. The BID will also be posting available spaces throughout the neighborhood on the website.

For more information on either program or to fill out an application for the gate replacement, visit here.

 

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City officials split on marching in St. Patrick’s Day parades


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo by Spencer Scott Nelson

St. Patrick’s Day parades citywide are creating a stir.

City officials are divided on the decision to march in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan. But the annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the Rockaways brought in a slew of pols including Borough President Melinda Katz, State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Last year, after the superstorm hit the Peninsula, then-mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio attended the parade. This year, the mayor did not participate.

Reports surfaced claiming de Blasio said the Rockaway parade excluded some groups, but a spokesperson clarified and cited scheduling conflicts. He participated in Sunnyside’s parade, “St. Pat’s for All.”

Last weekend’s spectacle in the borough’s “Irish Riviera” brought in iconic curly-haired dancers, marching bands, bagpipes, drummers and more.

In early February, de Blasio announced he would break tradition and additionally boycott the annual Irish celebration in Manhattan after parade officials prohibited marchers from carrying gay-pride banners.

Ulrich reacted by saying the mayor’s decision was “truly unfortunate and disappointing.”

Parade planners have said gays are not banned from joining the procession on March 17, just from declaring any sexual orientation.

Following de Blasio’s announcement, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hopped on the boycott bandwagon and pledged to not march, but said individual councilmembers can make their own decision. Ulrich plans on marching “rain or shine.”

“The parade is a time to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland and the many contributions Irish Americans have made to our city, not anything else,” he said. “While I respect the mayor’s decision to not participate, I plan on marching rain or shine.”

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who has said he supports gay rights, said he, too, will join the march through the city, which is reportedly expected to bring in about 1 million people.

Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a gay Irish-Catholic, did not participate in the parade during her time in office. This year, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Majority Leader Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer are among those who are also opting out.

 

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De Blasio joins Sunnyside and Woodside to celebrate St. Pat’s for All Parade


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Sunnyside and Woodside got all dressed up in green for the annual St. Pat’s for All Parade Sunday.

The parade, which ran down Skillman Avenue, featured the young and old, and even some four-legged friends celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

After deciding to boycott the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, because of its ban on LGBT pride banners or signs, Mayor Bill de Blasio took the trip to Queens to march in the Sunnyside parade.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PARADE PHOTOS

De Blasio was joined by other elected officials including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer, Senators Michael Gianaris and Grace Meng, and many more.

The Grand Marshals of the parade were Terry McGovern and Tom Duane.

St. Pat’s for All is known to be the city’s most diverse St. Patrick’s parade, embracing LGBT groups, community organizations, school bands, Irish organizations and, religious and civic groups.

An annual post-parade party followed at Saints & Sinners Irish Bar & Grill.

 

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A new party at Pachanga Patterson


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

BRADLEY HAWKS

Peyton Powell recently took over as executive chef in the kitchen at Astoria’s Pachanga Patterson, the third restaurant of the Mexican trio that also includes Vesta in Astoria and Venturo in Sunnyside. Powell had been the executive sous chef at Casa Mono since 2009 and also worked at DB Bistro Moderne, as well as Daniel.

Powell met the owners of Pachanga by eating at Vesta and seeing them around Astoria, where he has been living for the last four years.

“I loved what they were doing in the neighborhood, and wanted to be a part of it,” explains the chef.

Previously, Pachanga focused on serving “family meals,” incorporating  nontraditional ingredients into classic Mexican recipes.  A family meal, in the restaurant industry, is a staff meal served before a shift.  While tacos stuffed with duck remain, the theme has moved from fusion to classic Mexican.

“What I’m trying to do at Pachanga is not strictly Oaxacan,” says Powell, “even though it’s my favorite region of Mexico, foodwise. I want to incorporate traditional Mexican flavors and ingredients influenced by my background, in a local, seasonal, and comfortable environment.”

The result is some of the most delicious Mexican food in the entire city.  A surprisingly light queso fundido arrives in a shallow clay dish, studded with hen of the woods mushrooms, tiny diced cubes of butternut squash, and pumpkin seeds.  Quacamole is served in the classic style, or can be ordered jazzed up with pomegranate seeds, queso fresco, and chipotle pepper oil, making it sweet and spicy.

Cabernet colored beets are delicately charred on the grill, and served with pickled apples, crushed peanuts, and hibiscus.  Grilled octopus is stewed with cannellini beans and jalapeno oil, giving just the right spark of heat to remarkably tender tentacles.

If you order the fideos con mariscos, do not plan on sharing even a single bite, as these head-on prawns are sweet and tender, swimming with mussels in a pot of broken capellini, stewed with cactus paddles in a habanero aioli.  From the land, never has pork belly been executed to such deliciousness, glazed with tamarind and served with crunchy chicharrones and tangy tangerines.

“Pachanga” can loosely be translated as “street party,” which means there are plenty of unique cocktails to sip.  Drinks range from a Coriander en Fuego to a Cactus Cooler, made from organic prickly pear puree, blended with tequila blanco.

From appetizers to desserts, Pachanga Patterson is hitting it out of the park.  Chef Powell is dishing out some pretty remarkable dishes worthy of at least a visit, if not two… or 20.  If only all Mexican food could taste this fantastic.

Pachanga Patterson
33-17 31st Ave., Astoria
718-554-0525

 

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