Tag Archives: Van Bramer

No. 7 train shuttle idea shot down by MTA

| brennison@queenscourier.com

File Photo

An elected official’s plan for shuttle bus service during the No. 7 train shutdown was shot down before it left the station.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer proposed to the MTA a shuttle bus that would transport stranded straphangers directly from Vernon Boulevard into 42nd Street in Manhattan.

The MTA rejected the plan, saying, “While we appreciate the councilmember’s wishes to provide direct bus service into Manhattan, it would not save customers time and could actually make their commute longer depending on traffic conditions.”

The agency said the “E,” “N,” “Q”  and “R” train service all connect Long Island City with Midtown Manhattan and these subway trips are faster than a bus ride, which would be subject to traffic congestion.

“I disagree with that.  I think for anyone who knows the area, knows New York City, that just doesn’t seem right,” said Van Bramer, who added he was disappointed by the rejection.  “To me, it’s just a lack of imagination and a failure to think outside the box.”

Van Bramer said he hoped his offer would open up a dialogue with the agency to help mitigate some of the disruption for residents, who he said have been calling his office and asking for the shuttle bus.

Weekend work began on the line on Friday, January 20 and will continue each weekend until April 2 from 11:30 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday morning.

The MTA is providing shuttle service during the weekend work which brings riders from the Vernon Boulevard station to Queensboro Plaza, where they can transfer to the “N” or “Q” to Times Square.  Riders that want to reach Grand Central must make one more transfer to the 4, 5 or 6 at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue.

The shuttle service adds only 15 minutes to a customer’s commute, according to the MTA.

A constituent called Van Bramer’s office and suggested a shuttle service to 34th Street instead of Grand Central, which the councilmember called “a great idea.”

“I’m going to keep the dialogue open with them and continue to try to work with them to see if there is a way to do this,” Van Bramer said.

Kids, community help create dream playground in Sunnyside

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


The dream of every child is to allow his imagination to run wild while creating his own unique playground.

The students of P.S. 199 are having their dreams come true.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer visited the school, located at 39-20 48th Avenue in Sunnyside, on October 3 to commence his Noonan Park Community Design Initiative. The councilmember has currently secured $600,000 to revitalize the park, which is used by many students from P.S. 199.

In order to truly harmonize the remodeled playground with the neighborhood, Van Bramer is requesting input from all the people who call Sunnyside home.

Beginning October 3 and ending on October 31, suggestion boxes will be present in the Sunnyside Library and at Van Bramer’s district office, providing community members the opportunity to contribute their unique ideas to the design of the playground. Suggestions can also be made by calling the councilmember’s office or emailing jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov.

“The community deserves to have a voice in how their playground looks,” said Van Bramer, who is the first elected official to ask the neighborhood’s residents for their opinions regarding the design of a public space. “The children in the community have wonderful imaginations, and exercising their ideas artistically is a great way to express their vision.”

At the kick-off event, children shared their ideas by submitting drawings and essays depicting their visions of what the playground should look like. The proposal to improve Noonan was originally presented to the councilmember by fourth graders at P.S. 199’s career day last year.

According to Anthony Inzerillo, principal of P.S. 199, the most popular student suggestions are additional swings, lower basketball hoops to allow younger children to play, new playground equipment and an increase in the number of water sprinklers.

Some children also requested tributes to Thomas P. Noonan Jr., the park’s namesake and a United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism he displayed while serving during the Vietnam War.

“The renovations to the playground are a welcome addition to the community, and I am grateful that Councilmember Van Bramer requested our students’ input into the design,” said Inzerillo. “I am so proud of the students, because they preserved the memory of Thomas Noonan, and not only did they incorporate their own ideas, but they spoke to neighbors, friends and other people and they incorporated their input into the design as well. The nice thing is that they are going to have ownership over the park. I think they will take much better care of it and respect it, because they had input into the design. They will have a sense of pride.”

Long Island City dog run groomed

| smosco@queenscourier.com


A place to meet and socialize is important for members from all Queens communities – even four-legged ones. That is why elected officials and community leaders transformed a once “ruff” looking dog run into one that canines will agree is through the “roof.”

“This is great. There is so much more space,” said Mitzi Copeland, a Long Island City resident whose dog Stanley took full advantage of a completely-refurbished Vernon Boulevard Dog Run. “She usually meets her friends here and now they have a lot more room to run.”

Stanley and her friends joined Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Catherine Nolan and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, October 6.

Renovations to the park and dog run include new separate fenced-off areas for large and small dogs, drinking fountains for dogs and their owners, new lighting, new covered trash cans, shade structures, leveled-off grounds and a new dog-friendly gravel surface – all of it situated in a space more than double the size of the old run.

Sadie, a Bermese Mountain dog, showed her howling appreciation with a few hearty romps before sprawling on the ground while her friends bounded around.

“This is the Rolls Royce of dog parks,” said Sadie’s owner’s father, Laurence. “They need more places like this – dogs need to socialize, they need exercise in order to be happy.”

There were plenty of happy dogs present, including one very friendly dog named Reese who welcomed Van Bramer and Gianaris with a very wet token of her appreciation.

“Thank you Reese for the big kiss when I got here. It was a very special moment for all of us,” said Van Bramer. “This new dog run will give the many dog owners in the growing and vibrant neighborhood of Long Island City a newly designed and expanded space for dogs and their owners to exercise safely in.”

Construction on the park cost $150,000 and was funded by the Queens West Development Corporation (QWDC) with collaboration from New York State Parks Department and DOG LIC.

“Dog lovers rejoice!” said Gianaris. “The new Vernon Boulevard Dog Run makes it clear that Long Island City is a pet-friendly community. As western Queens continues to grow and develop more resources for community use, I encourage everyone to visit this new dog run and experience for themselves all the great things this park and the surrounding neighborhood have to offer.”