Queens Chamber of Commerce Holiday Toy Drive

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The Queens Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Holiday Toy Drive from now through December 10.

The chamber’s headquarters, located at the Bulova building at 75-20 Astoria Boulevard, Suite 140, is collecting new, unwrapped toys for all ages.

Toys can also be shipped to the chamber office. All toys will be donated to the Child Center of New York.

For more information, call 718-898-8500 ext. 123.

Happy holidays!

Submit your entry to the Thanksgiving Day Showcase


State Senator Michael Gianaris is now accepting entries for his annual Thanksgiving Day Showcase.

Young people from kindergarten to sixth grade from across the district can submit an essay, poetry, artwork or other creative depiction showing what they are thankful for this time of the year.

“This year has been so difficult in so many ways, and this annual program is, I hope, a small sense of normal for families in our community,” Gianaris said. “During these challenging times, it is important to reflect on that for which we are grateful.”

Submit entries on Gianaris’s website, gianaris.nysenate.gov. Entries are due by November 23.

Renovations underway for Doughboy Plaza

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Photo credit: NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

The $1.87 million project to reconstruct the plaza around Doughboy Plaza in Woodside is underway.

Parks Department officials and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer broke ground on construction last week.

Here is what the project entails:

  • Reconstruct plaza around Doughboy monument
  • New drinking fountains, seating and pathways
  • Reconstructing existing retaining wall and 9/11 Memorial plaque and flagpole
  • New security lighting, drainage and plantings
  • Easier access to dog run

Doughboy Plaza is not only a terrific green space for Woodside residents, it’s also a community space used for ceremonies, such as for Memorial Day.

CB2 office is collecting coats for families in need


Acting Borough President Sharon Lee’s office is partnering with all 14 community boards for a borough-wide coat drive in support of families in need.

From now through Friday, November 13, residents can drop off new adult and children’s coats in the lobby of Queen Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Boulevard, on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Community Board 2, located at 43-22 50th Street, Suite 2B in Woodside, is also taking coats by appointment. Call 718-533-8773 to make an appointment.

This coat drive is overlapping with King’s Toy Drive at Queens Borough Hall to benefit children battling cancer. That event is in partnership with the King Fights Cancer Foundation.

Residents can donate new, unwrapped toys through Friday, October 30.

Gianaris receives perfect score from Environmental Advocates Action


A leading environmental group gave a local Sunnyside representative a perfect score in their annual report card.

Earlier this week, Environmental Advocates Action gave State Senator Michael Gianaris a ‘100’ for helping shepherd environmental legislation in Albany.

Last year, the state legislature enacted the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions, improves resiliency efforts, ensures local job creation through energy transition and controls the regressive impacts of climate change mitigation.

“When the environment needs protecting, Senator Gianaris is always there,” said Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of EAA. “He shows up and does the work–that is clearly reflected in his perfect score.

“We are grateful for his continued efforts to make New York a national environmental leader.”

Sunnyside Restaurant Week runs from October 21 to 28


The 8th annual Sunnyside Restaurant Week will run from October 21 to October 28, and will feature a total of 46 different restaurants throughout Sunnyside and Woodside.

Each participating restaurant will offer a special $25, three-course dinner menu. Some will have lunch specials or other iterations of the $25 deal.

Find all of the menus and participating restaurants on the Sunnyside Shines website here.

This year, given the dining restrictions from the pandemic, some restaurants will have outdoor dining available, while others will offer the deals via delivery and/or takeout.

Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, also asked diners to order directly from the restaurants when possible.

There will also be a Sunnyside Restaurant Week online contest for a $250 gift certificate to the participating restaurant of choice. Learn more on Sunnyside Shines’s websites, Facebook or Instagram pages.

Get your bikes ready for Spoketacular! Family Fun Ride to the East River

Lou Lodati Playground. Image via Google Maps.
Lou Lodati Playground. Image via Google Maps.

Get your bikes ready for The “Spoketacular! Family Fun Ride to the East River” this Sunday!

The family-friendly event, set for October 25 at 11 a.m., will kick off in two places, Sunnyside and Astoria. Sunnyside riders will meet at Lou Lodati Playground, while the Astoria group will meet at Hallets Cove Playground.

Riders will meet in two groups, escorted by volunteer marshals, and ride down the protected bike lanes on Skillman Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, respectively.

The two groups will then converge in Queensbridge Park, where they will trick-or-treat and receive candy and surprises. It will also act as a celebration of safe and sustainable streets.

The event was inspired by the success of the May and October 2019 Family Rides, and the inaugural ride in 2018.

All riders must bring a bicycle in good working order. All children 14 and under are required to bring and wear a helmet. All participants must also wear face masks and social distance.

The event was organized by Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Volunteer Committee.

Learn more about the “Spoketacular! Family Fun Ride to East River” here.

Woodside on the Move co-hosts school supply drive


With schools officially reopened at least partially, local groups are helping students get ready for the new year.

Last week, Woodside on the Move teamed up with Mount Sinai Queens and State Senator Michael Gianaris for a school supply drive.

“COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis,” the state senator said, “but Queens has risen to the challenge and our neighbors have answered the call of those in need.”

Michael Vaz, executive director of Woodside on the Move, joined Gianaris and Caryn Schwab, executive director of Mount Sinai Queens, at the drive.

“Working with a school age population is challenging in these unique times,” he said, “but through partnership with Senator Michael Gianaris and Mount Sinai, we are ensuring that all young people in our community have the school supplies they need to succeed.”

Elite Palace busted for hosting wedding with nearly 300 guests

Elite Palace. Screen shot via Google Maps.
Elite Palace. Screen shot via Google Maps.

A wedding venue bordering Woodside, Elmhurst and Maspeth was shut down last Friday night for hosting an event with nearly 300 guests inside, according to reports.

Elite Palace, located at 69-02 Garfield Avenue, was allegedly hosting an indoor wedding, where attendees did not wear face masks or practice social distancing.

Reports say that city sheriffs were notified from an anonymous person, and they arrived on Friday night to shut down the party.

The venue manager and owner were given summonses, and face fines, according to reports.

Sunnyside Library has reopened with limited services

Sunnyside Library. Screen shot via Google Maps.
Sunnyside Library. Screen shot via Google Maps.

Queens Public Library reopened seven additional branches across the borough on Monday. Those branches are:

  • Arverne Library
  • Auburndale Library
  • Forest Hills Library
  • Fresh Meadows Library
  • Hillcrest Library
  • Langston Hughes Library
  • Sunnyside Library

The reopened branches offer limited “to-go” service six days a week.

With the seven reopenings, QPL now has 22 locations across Queens open to the public for pickups in a designated area of each building.

The branches will also accept returns at their exterior return machines.

The hours for each reopened branch are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (closed between 1 to 2 p.m. for cleaning); 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday; 12 to 7 p.m. on Thursday (closed between 3 to 4 p.m. for cleaning).

All staff and visitors are required to wear a mask and practical physical distancing. Hand sanitizer is available at all open branches.

At this time, there is no on-site public programs, browsing, meeting room availability, seating, public computers or in-person reference service.

In addition, there will be no fines or fees on any library materials checked out this year until January 4, 2021 at the earliest.