Tag Archives: Sunnyside

Sunnyside gets 15 new trash cans, replacing broken ones

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Sunnyside just received a gift that will help keep its streets shining and clean.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District announced Tuesday afternoon that the neighborhood had received 15 new trash receptacles down sidewalks on Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue.

The new trash cans, which were installed over the weekend, were fully funded by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and will be serviced daily by the Sunnyside Shines maintenance team.

“We thank Majority Leader Van Bramer for his dedication to beautifying Sunnyside’s commercial district,” said Rachel Thieme, Sunnyside Shines executive director. “These trash receptacles are a big upgrade for the district and provide a more functional and attractive option to manage trash collection on our busy streets.”

The new receptacles are made of fabricated steel and painted black. They replaced broken cans that no longer closed or locked, which were taken away by the Department of Sanitation.


Popular Sunnyside Paraguayan restaurant to open offshoot in Bayside

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Foodies in Bayside will soon have a new cuisine to add to their palates.

The owners of I Love Paraguay, located at 43-16 Greenpoint Ave., are in the process of opening an offshoot of their popular Sunnyside restaurant.

Although the owners are not yet ready to release the official location of the establishment, they did confirm the restaurant will be called “Sabor Guaraní” and is expected to open around August.

I Love Paraguay opened in 2007 and is run by Nancy, Carlos and Fabricio Ojeda, natives of Asunción in Paraguay.


Burglar wanted for breaking into Sunnyside pizzeria

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A burglar was caught on camera after he busted through the door of a Sunnyside pizza shop and raided the eatery’s cash register over the weekend, police said.

The break-in took place about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday at Lenny’s Pizza located at 44-08 Greenpoint Ave. near 47th Avenue.

According to authorities, the suspect kicked in the front glass door of the restaurant before taking $500 from a cash register and fleeing on foot.

The adult male suspect was last seen wearing a striped polo shirt, baseball cap, jeans and white sneakers.

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.


Reward offered for help in finding serial Queens bank robber

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the FBI New York office

Federal agents and the NYPD are offering “a significant reward” for the public’s help in finding the man responsible for at least a dozen bank robberies in Queens dating back to last year — including several armed heists.

Authorities said the suspect last struck in Middle Village on Dec. 9, 2014, robbing cash from the Chase bank at 74-04 Eliot Ave. Many of the other robberies occurred in Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Maspeth, Sunnyside and Ridgewood.

During each incident, the suspect reportedly passed demand notes to a teller and walked away with various sums of money. In five capers, the perpetrator displayed a handgun in his waistband to bank employees, the FBI said.

Law enforcement agents describe the crook as a black or Hispanic male with a medium to light complexion standing 6 feet tall, and weighing between 200 and 250 pounds. He is usually seen on camera wearing glasses and a baseball cap with the logo of a sports team such as the New York Yankees or New England Patriots. The public should consider the suspect armed and dangerous.

Among the heists in the robbery pattern are the following incidents:

  • June 7, 2014, robbery of a Chase bank located at 77-01 31st Ave. in East Elmhurst;
  • July 22, 2014, attempted robbery of a Santander bank located at 89-01 Northern Blvd. in Jackson Heights;
  • July 25, 2014, heist at a Chase bank located at 47-11 Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside;
  • Aug. 30, 2014, incident at a Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh located at 75-23 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights;
  • Oct. 4, 2014, robbery of a Chase bank located at 69-55 Grand Ave. in Maspeth; and
  •  Dec. 6, 2014, heist at a Chase bank located at 60-67 Myrtle Ave. in Ridgewood.

The FBI-NYPD Violent Crime Task Force is investigating the pattern.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts is urged to call the Task Force at 212-384-1000; all calls will be kept confidential.


Sunnyside to celebrate Flag Day on Saturday

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


The Sunnyside community is coming together this weekend to celebrate the history and adoption of the stars and stripes that make up the flag of the United States of America.

This Saturday will mark the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside’s 46th annual Flag Day Parade along Greenpoint Avenue.

The celebration commemorates Flag Day, which is on June 14, and features members of the nonprofit Sunnyside Drum Corps.

The parade is set to begin at 11 a.m. on 41st Street and will go down seven blocks to 48th Street.

Once the parade is over a celebration filled with music and community pride will take place at the Veterans Memorial Plaza inside Sabba Park, located on Queens Boulevard and 49th Street.

For more information, call 718-786-4141 or visit sunnysideparade.com.


CB 2 unanimously approves Queens Boulevard safety improvements

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Department of Transportation

Queens Boulevard is now one step closer to going from the “Boulevard of Death” to the “Boulevard of Life.”

Community Board 2 (CB 2) unanimously voted Thursday night to approve the Department of Transportation’s proposed safety improvements and redesign of a 1.3-mile portion of Queens Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

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

“Community Board 2’s unanimous vote tonight is a big step toward turning Queens Boulevard into the Boulevard of Life,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a statement after the meeting. “This investment made by the de Blasio Administration will make the boulevard safer, greener and better for all users. I would like to thank the community for its support and local leaders, such as Councilman [Jimmy] Van Bramer, for their leadership.”

A preliminary plan for the strip was released in March. The proposal presented by DOT representatives during the June 4 meeting was based on community input gathered during safety workshops earlier this year and also a meeting held with CB 2’s Transportation Committee two days prior to last night’s vote.


Some of the features of the first redesign segment, expected to be implemented in August, include safer crossings, increased pedestrian space and improved intersections. The 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.

Goals for the redesign include keeping the main line moving, reducing constant lane change, completing crosswalks and connecting neighborhoods, and eliminating highway-like design features.

Unique redesigns include a protected bike lane integrated into a widened service road median, with new pedestrian space and median-to-median crossings.

As part of their decision, CB 2 members asked the DOT to keep an ongoing dialogue with the community and address issues such as the loss of parking spaces and some of the turn lanes off the center median of the thoroughfare.


(THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano)

Residents at the meeting voiced their support for the proposal and praised DOT for the proposed safety improvements.

“What I’m really excited about the proposal today is that it kind of paints a future and gives an idea of what it would be like to have a road safe enough to bicycle on and it makes me excited to get my bicycle out and actually ride it,” said Patrick Rhea, a resident who walks and drives on Queens Boulevard.

The DOT 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.


Police hunt burglars in western Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos and video courtesy of NYPD

Authorities are searching for the suspects — including one apparently relaxed lookout — wanted in two separate break-ins of residences in Woodside and Sunnyside last week.

1256-15 108 precinct Burg 5-29-15 (1)The first incident occurred just after 5 p.m. on Friday at a second-floor apartment on 48th Avenue in Sunnyside, according to police.

The suspect — described as a Hispanic male standing about 5 feet 8 inches and weighing about 190 pounds with black hair and wearing a striped shirt — accessed the apartment by climbing the fire escape and opening an unlocked window, cops said. He then took an IWC watch and $300 in cash.

In an unrelated incident, on Sunday at about 2:45 p.m., two men were involved in the burglary of a private residence located on 37th Avenue in Woodside, authorities said.

One of the suspects allegedly broke into the home through a rear basement door, while another male acted as a lookout in the front of the residence. The suspects then stole electronics and jewelry before fleeing.


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.



Sunnyside performance series to kick off under 7 train

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Street Beat Brass Band

A Sunnyside pedestrian plaza will become a new venue for the arts starting this month as two local groups launch a series bringing free performances to the surrounding community.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District and the coalition ReCreate Queens have come together to kick off a new series called “Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza,” expected to bring entertainment from Queens-based musicians and performers.

In March, the groups launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $5,000, in hopes of bringing the new series to Bliss Plaza, which opened last October under the 7 train at Queens Boulevard and 46th Street.

The series received initial funding from the Queens Council on the Arts and the rest came from the successful campaign.

Bliss Plaza (Photo by Angy Altamirano)

Bliss Plaza (Photo by Angy Altamirano)

“We are really looking forward to programming this great new public space,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines.  “Bringing arts programming to Bliss Plaza helps create a more dynamic place and generates foot traffic and activity in the neighborhood, which benefits businesses, residents and visitors alike.”

The series, which kicks off on June 18 with a performance by the Sunnyside-based Street Beat Brass Band, will bring a new act to the plaza on the third Thursday of each month through October. Each performance will go from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

According to organizers, “Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza” will not only delight commuters but also serve to highlight the vital role artists play in the community.

“As a coalition of neighbors and creative professionals who want to ensure that the arts thrive in the area, it’s critical to us to showcase local artists and make their work accessible for everyone,” said Nancy Kleaver, founding member of ReCreate Queens. “With support from the community we are able to pay our artists what they deserve and establish an annual series that will grow over time. We can’t wait to launch this new tradition.”

The performances include the following:

July 16 – Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band
Aug. 20 – Dilemastronauta
Sept. 17 – McManus Irish Dance
Oct. 15 – Afro Latineers

For a detailed schedule, click here.


Photos: Queens honors and remembers soldiers with Memorial Day parades

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino Photography/Gallery by Robert Pozarycki, Anthony Giudice, Liam La Guerre

Nearly a dozen Memorial Day parades were held in Queens over the weekend as the borough paid tribute to military men and women who protect the freedoms residents enjoy today.

Mayor Bill de Blasio marched in the Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, which began at 2 p.m. on Northern Boulevard and Jayson Avenue, alongside U.S. Representative Grace Meng, Borough President Melinda Katz, Public Advocate Letitia James, Councilmen Paul Vallone and Mark Weprin and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein.

Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Loree Sutton, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, served as the parade’s grand marshal. Sutton hailed Memorial Day as a sacred time.

“It is a day that we come together to commemorate and remember and to think about all that we share in this great country and to remind ourselves that the cost and price of freedom is never free,” Sutton said. “That we are so blessed to be in the land of the free because of the brave.”

Parades were held in Woodside/Sunnyside, Whitestone, Laurelton, Howard Beach, Glendale/Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Forest Hills, College Point and Woodhaven.

New military recruits, veterans in vintage cars, fire fighters, police officers, JROTC members, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and marching bands participated in the borough’s parades while parents and children donned red, white and blue and waved the stars and stripes from sidewalks.


Rego Park woman sentenced for fatally pushing man in front of 7 train

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Schwen

A Rego Park woman began a 24-year prison sentence Wednesday for pushing a man to his death at a 7 train station in Sunnyside more than two years ago.

Erika Menendez, 33, pled guilty in March of this year to a manslaughter charge for killing Sunnando Sen, 46, at the 40th Street station on the night of Dec. 27, 2012.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Menendez was seen talking to herself and pacing on the platform at about 8 p.m. that evening. Moments later, she shoved Sen from behind off the platform and into an arriving Manhattan-bound 7 train.

Sen was pronounced dead a short time later from blunt force trauma.

During questioning, Menendez reportedly claimed she attacked Sen, whom she believed was a Muslim, because she hated “Hindus and Muslims ever since” the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Her prior record includes attacking a fire department battalion chief in June 2003 in front of his home on Palmetto Street in Ridgewood.

“[Menendez] committed what is every subway commuter’s worst nightmare — being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Brown said in a statement Wednesday. “The victim was shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself… [Her] actions clearly show that she is a threat to society and deserving of today’s sentence.”


Hundreds celebrate Taste of Sunnyside’s fifth year

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Stomachs were smiling under the elevated 7 train in Sunnyside on Tuesday night, as 28 local businesses came out to give the borough a taste of what they have to offer.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District celebrated its 2015 Taste of Sunnyside, a one-of-a-kind culinary event highlighting local businesses, under the subway line at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard.

“This is our biggest event of the year. We try to promote Sunnyside and all the great local restaurants and other businesses,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines.

The festival, which was sold out, featured sample treats and beverages from 28 Sunnyside establishments. Cuisines ranged from various countries around the world including Tibet, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Italy and Paraguay.

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

“Queens is moving and shaking. Folks are coming here to the borough of Queens to build and open their restaurants, to open their stores. We are in our core a borough of neighborhoods and those neighborhoods are sustained by our restaurants and our businesses and all of the community that comes out to support Sunnyside,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said. “Enjoy the fact that Sunnyside is on the move, Queens is on the move.”

The night also featured a full lineup of performers including local group Sunnyside Social Club – which filled the tent with mixes of folk, punk and jazz – and a presentation from the Thalia Spanish Theatre with Danza España and flamenco dancers.

“Sunnyside is an amazing place to live and work, start a business, raise a family, and I am so grateful every day to be a Sunnysider,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer also told the crowd that after tasting what the restaurants and establishments have to offer, they should go back out and “spend a lot of money” to support the businesses until next year’s Taste of Sunnyside.


Your guide to Memorial Day parades and vigils in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The sacrifices of American soldiers will be celebrated across Queens in the days to come at various Memorial Day parades and vigils.

Among the celebrations are the following events, scheduled to take place rain or shine:

Residents of Woodhaven will hold an early tribute to America’s fallen troops with a ceremony on Thursday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. The vigil, sponsored by the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, will take place at Forest Parkway Plaza, located at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Forest Parkway.

The program includes patriotic music, a color guard, laying of wreaths and remarks from local elected officials and veterans.

College Point
The College Point Citizens for Memorial Day Inc. will begin their parade on at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 24, at the intersection of 28th Avenue and College Point Boulevard. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is set to appear along with other local officials, and veteran Louis A. DiAgostino will be honored as the grand marshal.

Marching bands, drill teams and dance groups will all be performing at the event, and military servicemen and women will march in the festivities. The College Point Citizens for Memorial Day are accepting donations to offset parade costs. For more information contact parade chairman Rev. Adam Crabtree at 718-640-8840.

Forest Hills
The Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade hosted by the American Legion and the Forest Hills Kiwanis Club will take place on Sunday at noon. The parade starts from Metropolitan and Ascan avenues and will head westward down Metropolitan Avenue to Trotting Course Lane. From there, the parade will turn right and stop at the landmarked Remsen Cemetery between Trotting Course Lane and Alderton Street.

This year’s grand marshal will be Roland Meier, president of the West Side Tennis Club. Members of ROTC, band, and local civic and children’s organizations such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will march in the parade. Organizers of the parade will hold a ceremony at Remsen Cemetery to honor veterans.

The United Veterans and Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth will honor the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice during their 31st Memorial Day Parade on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Grand marshals James Desio, retired US Army WWII veteran, and William Aronowicz, retired U.S. Marine Corp. WWII veteran, will lead the procession, beginning at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park, located at 72nd Street and Grand Avenue. At 2 p.m., there will be a memorial service for the deceased veterans of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Middle Village
The St. Margaret Catholic War Veterans Post 1172 will honor those who died for the nation on Monday, May 25, with a special Mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Margaret Church, located at the corner of Juniper Valley Road and 80th Street.

Then, at 11 a.m., post members and residents will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Middle Village Veterans Triangle, located at the corner of Gray and 77th streets near 66th Road. The ceremony will include prayers, a military salute and the playing of taps.

The Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale, a committee made up of delegates from six veteran organizations, will honor the more than 1.14 million men and women of the U.S. armed forces who died in defense of the country during the 77th Memorial Day parade Monday.

At 11 a.m., the parade will begin at the Glendale War Memorial, located at Myrtle and Cooper Avenues, with a short memorial service to honor the war dead of Glendale. They will then march down Myrtle Avenue westbound to the Ridgewood War Memorial, located at Myrtle and Cypress Avenues, where there will be another short memorial service to honor the war dead of Ridgewood.

Howard Beach
The Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade will honor Vietnam War veterans, including the Howard Beach residents lost at war since the neighborhood’s founding.

There will be a memorial day Mass before the parade at Our Lady of Grace at 101st Street on Monday at 9:30 a.m. At 10:15 a.m., there will be a brief ceremony on top of Hawtree-Ramblersville Bridge and the parade will officially commence at Coleman’s Square at 11 a.m. The parade will stop at the Vietnam War Memorial, located at 99th Street and 157th Avenue and then head to the World War II Memorial at Assembly of God Church at 158-31 99th St. They will then march to St. Barnabas Church at 159-19 58th St. before marching back to Coleman Square.

The Laurelton Lions Club will present the 26th Annual Laurelton Memorial Day Parade, featuring The Queens Area Pathfinders Marching Band and The Black and Gold Marching Elite Band, on Monday starting at 9 a.m. The parade begins at Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards, and will end at the Veterans Memorial Triangle at 225th Street and North Conduit Avenue.

Sponsors for this year’s parade include the Laurelton Lions Club, American Legion Benjamin Moore Post 1946, Garden Club of Laurelton, Federated Blocks of Laurelton and Concerned Citizens of Laurelton in Conjunction with Col. Edward O. Gourdin VFW POST 5298.

The Whitestone Memorial Day Parade will honor veterans and public servants from the community on Monday, May 25. The event will begin at noon at Whitestone Memorial Park at 149th Street and 15th Drive with a ceremony. Following the ceremony, the parade will commence and follow a rectangular route around the neighborhood back to Whitestone Memorial Park. Jim Dunn, a veteran from The American Legion in Whitestone, will serve as the grand marshal.

The parade will feature classic cars, elected officials, children from local sports leagues, and it will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of Whitestone’s Engine 295/Ladder 144 of the FDNY. For additional, information or to volunteer call Devon O’Connor, parade chairman, at 718-757-8546.

This year the St. Sebastian’s War Veterans will host the Woodside Memorial Day Parade to honor fellow veterans on Monday starting at 11 a.m. Parade participants will get together at the St. Sebastian’s School yard located at the corner of Woodside Avenue and 57th Street.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and John V. Daniels Jr. Post No 2813 in Sunnyside will host a Memorial Day event to honor veterans on Monday at 11 a.m. The event will be held at John Vincent Daniels Square, located on Roosevelt Avenue and 52nd Street. During the ceremony, a wreath will be placed at the flagpole in the middle of the park.

Little Neck/Douglaston
This year’s Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. Monday, pays special tribute to Vietnam War veterans. Dr. Loree Sutton, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, will serve as grand marshal of the march sponsored by the Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade Association.

The march begins in Great Neck from the corner of Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard, then proceeds west on the boulevard to the yard of St. Anastasia’s Church, located near Northern Boulevard and 245th Street.

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.


Sunnyside Shines BID executive director honored for dedication

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of state Senator Michael Gianaris' office

One Sunnyside community leader shined extra bright this week, receiving an award for her dedication and commitment to the western Queens neighborhood she serves.

Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, was honored by state Senator Michael Gianaris on Tuesday during the annual New York State Women of Distinction Ceremony in Albany.

The award is given to outstanding women from throughout the state whose contributions enrich the quality of life in their communities.

“Rachel and Sunnyside Shines are perfect embodiments of the wonderful character of our neighborhood,” Gianaris said. “More and more people are finding out that Sunnyside has among the finest restaurants, cultural institutions and public spaces in all of New York, and Rachel’s work is a huge part of that. From our two new public plazas on Queens Boulevard to Taste of Sunnyside, Rachel makes our neighborhood a better place to live and I couldn’t be prouder to recognize her as a Woman of Distinction.”

Thieme began serving as the executive director of the BID in 2012 and since then has worked with local business and property owners to promote and enhance Sunnyside as a commercial district.

“This recognition shines a bright light on our efforts to promote and beautify Sunnyside’s commercial district, and I am so appreciative to the senator for this opportunity,” she said.


Woodside intersection, prone to accidents, gets new traffic safety measures

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Woodside residents are showing that with determination and perseverance, changes can be made to prevent tragedies from occurring.

Civic activists, students from P.S. 11 and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer gathered on Monday morning at the corner of 51st Street and Skillman Avenue to announce the installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection.

“We’re here today to celebrate a huge victory, a monumental victory for this community because it’s the small things that really matter in the daily lives of everyday people and that stop light has been something we have all worked for for years,” Van Bramer said.

The call for the stop light came after a pedestrian was hit at the intersection and community members including Arthur Ferguson, who started a petition that gathered 265 signatures, and Van Bramer reached out to the Department of Transportation.

“This stop light is a great victory and a great sign of what a community can do to make its streets safer,” Van Bramer said. “This would not have happened without a communitywide effort and never giving up because we heard no several times but we knew that this stop light was needed. We knew that it was too dangerous.”

Ali Mamun, who has owned Woodside Super Convenient at 51-01 Skillman Ave. for 20 years, said that he has seen numerous vehicle collisions at the intersection and down Skillman Avenue, so he hopes the new light will help prevent any future accidents.

“It’s excellent,” Mamun said about the traffic signal installation. “We are so happy for it. Hopefully the light will help everyone now.”

Along with the installation of the traffic signal, a slow zone is in the process of being implemented in the Sunnyside Gardens-Woodside neighborhood. It is expected to be completed by the end of the spring.

The parameters of the slow zone are Queens Boulevard/Roosevelt Avenue as the southern border, 43rd Street as the western border, 58th Street to the east and 38th Avenue/Barnett Avenue to the north.

“Our students walk back and forth to school and it’s a safer neighborhood now. It just became so much better,” said Elizabeth Pena-Jorge, principal at P.S. 11, located just blocks away from the intersection. “Woodside, and Sunnyside, just became a better place.”