McManus Irish Dance comes to Bliss Plaza

Celebrate Irish culture in Sunnyside on Thursday, September 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bliss Plaza.

McManus Irish Dance will perform, and there will be live Irish music the entire afternoon.

Games and crafts will begin at 4 p.m., with live performances kicking off at 5 p.m.

This celebration is part of Sunnyside Shines’ “Beats in Bliss Plaza” series, which features performances from Queens-based musicians from May to September.

Sunnyside Yard’s third public meeting

screen shot sunnyside yards

EDC is hosting its third public meeting of the master planning process for Sunnyside Yard on Monday, September 16 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The even will be held at Aviation High School right off Queens Boulevard.

According to the invitation description, there will be some “early concepts” to help address open space and infrastructure concerns. The city is seeking feedback on these ideas.

Light food and refreshments will be served. Activities for children ages 10 and under will also be provided.

To RSVP, click here.

Breast cancer screening van comes to Queens

MMV Flyer September 28th Assemblymember DenDekker - English-page-001

Assemblyman Michael DenDekker’s office is hosting a mobile mammography van to conduct free breast cancer screenings on Saturday, September 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jackson Heights Shopping Center.

The van, administered by Mount Sinai Hospital, will offer free mammograms to women over the age of 40.

The service is available to anyone over the age of 50, regardless of whether or not they have insurance.

Only women who have not had a mammogram within the past year will be eligible for the service.

Anyone seeking a breast cancer screening must pre-register with Mount Sinai Hospital by calling (844) EZMAMMO or (844) 396-2666.

You will be asked to leave a message, and after you leave a message, a staff member from Mount Sinai Hospital will return your call.

Pantry at St. Mary’s of Winfield receives funding

Screen shot via Google Maps
Screen shot via Google Maps

The food pantry at St. Mary’s of Winfield is one of 10 food pantries that have received funding this budget cycle.

Councilman Bob Holden’s office announced that the Woodside church was one of 10 recipients of a $95,595 allocation.

The funding will go toward boosting the food pantries that serve families in need.

“Many people fall on hard times in this city,” Holden says, “and a little bit of food from their local pantry can make a huge difference in their lives.”

On Eid al-Adha, TCCQ gives back to community

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Screen shot via Google Maps

To cap off Eid al-Adha, the Turkish Cultural Center of Queens in Sunnyside is making a delivery of high-quality frozen meat to over 100 low-income seniors and families at the Jacob Riis Settlement House in LIC.

The donation was made possible through the collaboration of TCCQ, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District and State Senator Mike Gianaris.

“The Turkish community strives to give back to those around us, to be active in creating the supportive and neighborly world we all want to live in,” says Veysel Ucan, executive director of TCCQ. “Donations of meat to the poor are a tradition that date to the founding of our religion, and we feel blessed and gratified to carry on this generosity today with our Queens neighbors.”

Eid al-Adha is second of two major holidays celebrated by Muslims worldwide. It commemorates Ibrahim’s divine test of obedience to God’s will when he was asked to sacrifice his own son, a story common to Islamic, Christian and Jewish faiths.

It marks the culmination of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj), one of the most important tenets of Islam.

Sunnyside’s Alpha Donuts serves everything up with a side of nostalgia

Sunnyside’s Alpha Donuts serves everything up with a side of nostalgia

When Patty Zorbas arrived on the scene on Queens Boulevard at 3 a.m., it was hard for her to watch. A five-alarm fire completely engulfed the six stores adjacent to her own, Alpha Donuts.

“When I saw the flames, I was like ‘that’s it, we’re going home,’” she said. “We’re not going to survive.”

Zorbas joined fellow business owners to watch firefighters work throughout the night on December 13 to control the fire. When the sun rose, six businesses were destroyed.

Among them were Sunnyside staples like Sidetracks, Better Line Hardware, and New York Style Eats. What did survive was Alpha Donuts.

That’s because decades prior, Alpha Donuts survived a less-intense fire. Afterward, the separate landlords on Queens Boulevard between 45th and 46th Streets agreed to install a firewall between their buildings. That firewall saved Alpha Donuts from turning into a pile of ash.

After last year’s fire, a few paint jobs later they were back to looking as they did before the fire — exactly as it was in the 1970s.

While Zorbas could have changed the aesthetic, she chose to keep it the same for nostalgic reasons.

“It feels like home,” she said, adding she is not a fan of the modern look. “It’s where you grew up, and it reminds you of the past.”

There are no tables inside Alpha Donuts. Just a single, winding countertop and 18 stationary stools. An old-fashioned cash register sits on the counter between the donuts and the grill. When Zorbas replaced it with a modern register, customers complained.

“It’s not the same without the register,” Zorbas said. “It’s our good luck charm.”

The doors at Alpha Donuts never close. Open 24/7, the restaurant serves early-bird seniors, sausage-craving cabbies, and late-night stumbling crowds.
Zorbas’ family has owned Alpha Donuts since 1979, and she has been running the restaurant for 28 years. When asked what keeps her going, she said it is the people.

“I meet people from all over the world, and I remember people coming in here as kids,” she said.

At 1 p.m. on a recent Friday afternoon, Zorbas was jumping between conversations with customers and her chef, Taso Diakantonis, who has been working at Alpha Donuts for 21 years and also shows no signs of slowing down.

Even though Alpha Donuts was spared from the 2018 fire, Zorbas said the adjacent destruction leaves a hole in the neighborhood.

“They’re my neighbors and I felt so bad,” she said. “It was a very sad day for Sunnyside. The neighborhood is not the same.”

Mammogram bus heads to Woodside

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On Wednesday, July 31, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s Mammogram Bus is coming to Woodside.

The Emerald Isle Immigration Center will host the bus, which will provide no-cost mammograms and clinical breast exams.

No co-pays are required, and deductibles are waived. Uninsured patients are also welcomed.

The van will be at 59-26 Woodside Avenue.

For an appointment, call 646-545-7214 or 1-877-628-9090.

Woodside on the Move gets $200K in city budget

WOTM Funding

Woodside on the Move won big in the latest city budget.

The city allocated $191,730 to the organization, of which nearly $152,000 will go specifically toward the group’s efforts to assist tenants and residents with housing-related issues.

WOTM’s services include after-school programs, summer camp for youth, tenant advocacy, case management, adult computer classes, immigration counseling, free tax services, monthly legal clinics and cultural programming.

“Woodside on the Move is an indispensable resource for our Woodside community,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said in a statement. “This allocation will help fund essential programming for youth and families, ranging from summer camp and cultural performances to tech training and housing assistance.”

MTA to install netting at 61st St-Woodside station

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Months after debris rained down on Woodside residents from the elevated subway track, the MTA is taking action to prevent further incidents.

On Saturday, MTA New York City Transit announced a new pilot program to test the feasibility of netting to capture debris while still allowing regular inspections.

The 61 St-Woodside station on the 7 line was chosen as one of four sites for the netting “due to a history of loose debris and higher elevations.”

As the MTA noted, the Woodside station, which opened in 1917, runs above Roosevelt Avenue, a main thoroughfare in Queens. It’s also a connection to the Long Island Rail Road.

“Owing to its age and exposure to weather conditions year-round, this location is particularly susceptible to deterioration that may cause debris to periodically fall from the structure,” the MTA says.

Case in point: on February 21, a beam crashed through a car windshield below the 7 train on Roosevelt Avenue and 65th Street. The driver was not hurt.

On Marc 6, more debris rained down at 62nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue, striking a moving car. Again, no one was injured.

This led to elected officials calling for immediate action from the MTA.

According to the MTA, a $2 million contract for the netting on the 7 line, as well as the Jamaica J/Z lines, was already awarded on July 5 to FOS.

Let’s hope the netting works to protect the people below.