Tag Archives: Sunnyside

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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Pols call for Northern Boulevard to be included in mayor’s Vision Zero initiative


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Local politicians and residents are saying the time to act is now, before another innocent life is taken on Northern Blvd

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer gathered with other elected officials and traffic safety advocates Thursday to call for Northern Blvd. to be added as one of the 50 locations in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative

“We are all committed to Vision Zero, and it is our obligation to speak up and stand up every single time pedestrians are killed or injured as a result of reckless driving,” said Van Bramer, who has developed a list of locations with traffic fatalities. “We’re calling for the administration to include Northern Boulevard, and really all over Northern Boulevard, stretching into Jackson Heights and Corona, deserve this recognition.”

The group gathered at the intersection of Northern Blvd. and 48th St. in Woodside, where four pedestrians were stuck Saturday while they were waiting for the bus. One of the victims was a 7-year-old girl who suffered a skull fracture but survived. 

“Here we go again,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who introduced a bill in the Senate, which would charge drivers who continue to drive without a valid license and are in an accident that causes serious injury or death with vehicular assault.

“Until we begin taking pedestrian safety seriously, we are going to keep standing at more and more press conferences talking about the same issue and we hope we don’t have to do it too many more times,”  he said.

Last month, de Blasio and his administration launched an interagency working group, together with the NYPD, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Taxi & Limousine Commission, to implement a Vision Zero initiative aiming to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

The announcement took place just less than a block from where third-grader Noshat Nahian, who was on his way to school, was fatally struck in December by a tractor trailer on Northern Blvd. and 61st St.

The working group will come together to implement the mayor’s plan by developing a report, due to the mayor by Feb. 15 and released publicly, that will serve as a blueprint for the mayor’s “Vision Zero” plan for safer streets through the city.

“Clearly Northern Blvd. deserves this recognition and we are asking the administration to include this series of intersections on Northern Boulevard so no child is ever killed trying to cross the street going to school,” said Van Bramer. “This is a street. For some, they may think it’s a highway, but the truth is there are people living, working and going to school all along Northern Blvd. and it has to be just as safe as any other street in the city of New York and until it is so, we will not rest.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Periods of snow. Snow will be heavy at times especially this morning. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph. Snow accumulating 5 to 8 inches. Monday night: Scattered snow flurries and snow showers possible this evening. Becoming mostly clear later. Low 24. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: World Ice Arena at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Bring your friends, bring a scarf and gloves and remember to lace up tight! Ice skating season has begun at World Ice Arena at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park! Admission is $5 for all ages on weekdays and $8 on weekends and holidays. To rent skates be sure to bring socks and an additional $5. Monday through Friday the rink is open from 9 a.m. until 5:15 p.m. On weekends it is open: 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday nights; noon. until 4:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. until 9:50 p.m. Saturdays and noon  until 4:45 on Sundays. Information is subject to change, to inquire about any changes call 718-760-9001. World Ice Arena is located at Avery Avenue and 131st Street Flushing. Submit an event of your own

Winter storm warning issued; 5 to 8 inches expected

More snow is on its way for New York City, just as Staten Island Chuck predicted six more weeks of winter. Read more: The Queens Courier 

32-year-old man arrested in Sunnyside hit-and-run of four pedestrians

A 32-year-old Jackson Heights man was arrested Sunday in connection to a hit-and-run in Sunnyside Saturday night that left five people in the hospital. Read more: The Queens Courier

Cuomo may have Senate votes to block de Blasio’s pre-K tax hike

Gov. Cuomo, aided by a coalition of Senate Republicans and upstate Democrats, will defeat Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to raise taxes to fund universal pre-K this year, a leading legislative Democrat has told The Post. Read more: New York Post 

Transit woes, mild temperatures mark Super Bowl XLVIII

The first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl in the nation’s most congested region confounded skeptics on the first count, as unseasonably warm temperatures served as a pleasant backdrop for Sunday’s NFL title game. Read more: NBC New York

Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead in Manhattan apartment

He was only 46, busy as ever and secure in his standing as one of the world’s greatest actors. Read more: AP

32-year-old man arrested in Sunnyside hit-and-run of four pedestrians


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated 10:15 p.m.

A 32-year-old Jackson Heights man was arrested Sunday in connection to a hit-and-run in Sunnyside Saturday night that left five people in the hospital.

The NYPD arrested Luis Andrade on Sunday at about 3:55 p.m. and he is facing two charges of leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury. 

Andrade’s white Mazda sedan allegedly struck four pedestrians at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday as they waited at a bus stop on Northern Boulevard and 48th Street, police said.

The driver then fled the scene in the car and ditched the car a few blocks away.

The victims, who ranged from a seven-year-old girl to a 56-year-old man, were taken to Elmhurst Hospital and all are in non-critical condition. A fifth person, who was at the scene of the time of the accident but was not struck, was also taken to the hospital with high blood pressure, according to police.

 

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Dmytro Fedkowskyj mulling a run against Assemblymember Marge Markey


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

There may be a showdown in the Democratic primary race for Assembly District 30 later this year.

Middle Village resident Dmytro Fedkowskyj, 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, is giving a lot of thought about running against incumbent Marge Markey.

“I had many people come up to me and ask me, ‘what are you going to do now? You’ve tackled and handled that job so well, why don’t you run for office,’” Fedkowskyj said, referring to his time on the PEP.

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

Fedkowskyj, an accountant and father of three, was a member of the PEP for five years, since former Borough President Helen Marshall appointed him in 2008.

He advocated for Queens students and parents in the position, until he resigned on December 31, as Marshall left office.

Former colleagues say what makes Fedkowskyj special is his ability to draw people together.

A graduate of Grover Cleveland High School, Fedkowskyj is an alum of SUNY Empire State College. He started his community outreach with Community Education Council District 24 in 2004. He served as chair of the School Construction and Zoning Committee before he was appointed to the PEP. Fedkowskyj also served as a trustee for the city’s Board of Education Retirement System from 2008 to 2013.

Despite his experience, challenging Markey, who has held office since 1998, may be difficult. Markey has won at least 60 percent of votes in her last three elections against Republican opponents. But given that the area is mostly Democratic, Fedkowskyj criticized her wins.

“In an Assembly district that holds almost 2-1 Democrat over Republican voters, one has to question why she hasn’t won a general election by a larger margin,” Fedkowskyj said. “Maybe voters are just looking for change.”

Michael Armstrong, a spokesperson for Markey, said that she will run for re-election, but didn’t comment on Fedkowskyj.

Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Marge Markey

 

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Cops: Armed robbery suspects tie up Sunnyside cell phone store workers


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Two suspects tied up the employees of a Sunnyside cell phone store during an armed robbery last month before taking off with cash and electronics, police said.

The incident occurred about 9 p.m. on Dec. 19 at a T-Mobile store on Queens Boulevard near 46th Street, according to the NYPD.

The two male suspects entered the business after it was closed, displayed guns and ordered employees to the rear of the store where they were zip-tied, police said. They then removed cash and electronics, and fled the store.

No injuries were reported, the NYPD said.

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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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: A mix of clouds and sun. High 41. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Cloudy. Low 36. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: New Sounds of East and West

Set in a quaint, Gothic style church, Project Hansori’s concert will present new original music centered on Asian-infused jazz. Free, donation suggested. Starts at 7 p.m at All Saints Church in Sunnyside. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Melissa Mark-Viverito says she has support to become next City Council speaker

Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito is claiming she will have enough votes in the City Council to become its next speaker. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Immigrant population highest in a century

The percentage of immigrants in New York City’s population is the highest it’s been in a century. Read more: New York Post

Bloomberg’s meddling ways on unions don’t sit well with de Blasio

Michael Bloomberg has offered an unprecedented challenge to his successor to slash union benefits — for the good of the city — even if it means he doesn’t get re-elected. Read more: CBS New York 

DeBlasio picks ‘true progressive’ for budget director

Describing him as a “true progressive,” Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio appointed a former top fiscal aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as the city’s next budget director. Read more: New York Post

Millions of Target customers’ credit, debit card accounts may be hit by data breach

Approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts used by Target customers may have been impacted by a major data breach, the retailer said Thursday. Read more: NBC News