Two new Open Streets come to Sunnyside

With residents yearning for more open space in light of the pandemic, New York City has added two new blocks to the Open Streets program.

Last week, the city added 47th Street from 39th Avenue to Skillman Avenue, as well as 49th Street from 39th Avenue to Skillman Avenue, to the program.

Collectively, they represent a 0.38-mile stretch of new Open Streets, which bars car traffic in most cases, leaving it open for bikers, pedestrians and other users of the road.

The two blocks will be managed by the 39th Avenue Open Street Coalition.

Small basement fire breaks out in Sunnyside building

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UPDATE: According to the FDNY, four people, including a civilian and three firefighters, were taken to a local hospital. The incident was under control in two hours and 10 minutes.

 

A fire broke out in the basement of an apartment building at 45-45 46th Street in Sunnyside on Friday afternoon.

No one appeared to be injured. After just a few minutes, the fire seemed to be contained, though several dozen firefighters were on the scene for more than an hour.

As you can see from the photo above, the windows of the first floor and basement were broken.

Though some residents from nearby buildings were evacuated, it looked like some went to the roof to check out what was going on.

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It was unclear if the restaurant next door, Bistro Punta Sal, a Peruvian spot, was affected.

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Dozens of people were watching the firefighters at work just across the street. One man with an American flag-designed mask tossed two firefighters water bottles. Others applauded the firefighters for their work.

 

Acting BP Lee is accepting applications to join CEC 30

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Acting Borough President Sharon Lee is looking for two dedicated parent volunteers to fill two vacant positions on Community Education Council District 30.

Lee is accepting applications from education-minded individuals until Friday, August 7.

CEC 30, which includes Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Astoria and Long Island City, is responsible for advising and commenting on educational policies and providing input to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

Each CEC oversees elementary and middle schools in their respective community school district. There are seven community school districts in Queens.

To read more about the role of CECs, click here.

CEC members meet for public meetings every month, and visit schools to see what their educational needs are. They also review the district’s educational programs, approve zoning lines, and submit a capital plan to the chancellor after holding public hearings.

The CEC membership application is available online here and can be returned by email to education@queensbp.org.

Bronx man charged with attempted murder on 7 train

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A Bronx man who allegedly stabbed two elderly people on the 7 train in Sunnyside was charged with attempted murder, among other crimes.

Queens District Attorney announced on Wednesday that 46-year-old Patrick Chambers from the Bronx was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in the hospital before a Queens Criminal Court judge.

Chambers is charged with attempted murder in the second degree, two counts of attempted assault, two counts of assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

He will return to court on August 14. If convicted, he faces up to 25 yers in prison.

AOC, Jamaal Bowman to host eviction defense workshop

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Later this evening, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will join soon-to-be Congressman Jamaal Bowman and Housing Justice for All to host an eviction defense training for tenants looking to hold onto their homes.

Attendees will discuss ways families can protect themselves against evictions through “organized defense efforts and blockades.”

The lawmakers will also highlight the need for a universal eviction moratorium in New York through the end of 2020, and to cancel debt.

To register for the workshop, click here.

Van Bramer explains why he voted ‘no’ to the budget

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On Tuesday night, the New York City Council voted to pass the $88 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

For weeks, advocates marching and protesting across the city have called for defunding the NYPD by at least $1 billion. The demonstrations have resulted in an occupation of City Hall Park, where activists called on the City Council to decrease the police budget significantly.

However, as City Council Speaker Corey Johnson later admitted, negotiations for the $1 billion in cuts fell short.

When the vote for the budget came, 37 members voted in favor, while 12 voted against. Sunnyside Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer was one of the no votes.

“The people have demanded a real $1 billion cut to the NYPD, but also a reimagining of public safety in this city,” he explained in a statement. “Sadly, the most historic part of this budget is how it fails to meet the moment.

“As a person who benefits from white privilege, I have a particular obligation to meet this moment and to use my power and privilege to end white supremacy and a police state that brutalizes black and brown bodies,” he added.

Van Bramer noted that over $350 million of the cut is through overtime reduction goals. However, he said based on history, the reduction is more of a “suggestion” because NYPD blows through overtime numbers.

The councilman added that the budget should have eliminated more cadet classes and actively reduced the headcount of uniformed officers.

On moving school safety officers out of the NYPD to the Department of Education budget, Van Bramer said those changes happen over two years, and does nothing for students who feel over-policed and criminalized.

“It’s not a cut,” he said. “We should have gone much further and invested more in education and programs that build up communities.”

AOC wins, incumbents ahead in Democratic primaries

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

In her first Democratic primary since vanquishing longtime Congressman Joe Crowley, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez handily defeated three challengers hoping to unseat the progressive firebrand.

In a race that the Associated Press called last night, AOC won with a whopping 27,460 votes, or 72.4 percent, with 96 percent of precincts reporting. AOC later called the victory “a mandate.”

Former CNBC anchor Michell Caruso-Cabrera, who was running a well-funded campaign to the center, received 7,393 votes, good for 19.5 percent.

Other challengers included Community Board 2 member Badrun Khan, who got 2,040 votes (5 percent) and Sam Sloan, who got 932 votes (2.5 percent).

48799914406_31f4f2cafb_oIn the State Senate, Michael Gianaris topped challenger Iggy Terranova with 14,114 votes, good for 73 percent. Terranova, a former DSNY official, got 4,989 votes, or 26 percent.

State Senator Jessica Ramos, who represents parts of Woodside as well, won 11,998 votes, or 84 percent, against challenger Diana Sanchez, who only got 2,245 votes, nearly 16 percent.

From left to right: Regent Judith Chin, Orlaith Staunton, PS 150 Principal Carmen Parache, Ciaran Staunton, Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, NYS Chancellor Betty Rosa.
Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, right, speaks in Sunnyside.

In the race for the 37th Assembly District, longtime Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan faced two challengers to her left: Danielle Brecker and Mary Jobaida.

As of this morning, with 95.6 percent of precincts reporting, Nolan got 4,314 votes, representing 52.3 percent of the vote. Jobaida received 2,711 votes, good for 33 percent, and Brecker got 1,196 votes, or 14.5 percent.

Though absentee ballots will still play a role, Nolan is comfortably ahead by 1,603 votes.

In the race for Queens borough president, Councilman Donovan Richards is leading all candidates with 41,915 votes, good for 37.2 percent, with 96 percent of precincts reporting.

Trailing Donovan is former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who has 31,781 votes, or 28 percent.

Councilman Costa Constantinides is coming in third, with 17,164 votes, or 15 percent. Closely behind him is Anthony Miranda, with 14.7 percent, and Dao Yin, with 4.5 percent.

Though Richards is ahead by a decent margin, this is another race that will be decided by absentee ballots.

Taking a look at races for district leader, which are unpaid elected posts within the Democratic Party, longtime District Leader Deirdre Feerick is losing to trans activist Emilia Decaudin, 2,451 (52.5 percent) to 2,190 (47 percent) for District 37 Part A.

For Female District Leader in District 37 Part B, Melissa Bieri topped Diane Ballek, 2,066 (75 percent) to 681 (25 percent).

As for the Male District Leaders, in District 37 Part A, Jesse Laymon is ahead of Michael McGuire, 2,427 (53 percent) to 2,106 (46 percent).

In District 37 Part B, Derek Evers appears to have defeated Ian Magerkurth, 1,819 (66 percent) to 927 (33 percent).

We’ll have to count absentee ballots before determining the winners in these races too.

Sunnyside district leader posts in play on June 23

TWO CANDIDATES MAKE THEIR  PITCH FOR YOUR VOTE

 

Electing Democrats and wanting reform isn’t enough. Working to make changes for the better in our neighborhoods, city and state by partnering with leaders that recognize our commitment is what the district deserves.

We represent the people of this district and that’s who we will always be working for.

Queens has traditionally been the incubator of New York City’s middle class. Generation after generation have come here from all 50 states and every nation of the world to build a better life, to find decent, hardworking communities in which they can raise their children, own a home, and send their kids to good schools – basically to live out the American Dream.

For some time now, we have seen those possibilities slipping away. Wages have become stagnant and housing costs – along with everything else – have been increasing. With the onslaught of COVID-19, the instability of the stock market, and unrest in our streets, the future seems uncertain.

However, one thing is certain: the working class has always been the foundation of this great city, and without us, that very foundation will collapse. The poor cannot pay taxes and the rich refuse to do so.

It is the working men and women of New York, those that take care of the sick, that move the masses, that put out the fires, that teach our children, that build this great metropolis, that are the lifeblood. New York City cannot survive without them.

We are dedicated to preserving these middle-class professions, ideals and neighborhoods throughout LIC, Sunnyside and Woodside.

Deirdre Feerick is an attorney with Transport Workers Union 100. Michael McGuire has been a member of Construction and Building Laborers Local 79 four decades, working on health and safety legislation and diversifying the trades. Both are candidates for district leader.

Queens virtual Pride Month Celebration set for tomorrow

LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Councilman Daniel Dromm are co-hosting the borough’s annual LGBTQIA+ Pride Month Celebration virtually on Thursday.

You can livestream the virtual event by visiting www.queensbp.org.

It will feature a performance by Miss LCA, a special message by actor John Leguizamo, and music by DJ Miss Hap. The event will also feature a tribute to those who have lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panel discussion will feature members of the Caribbean Equality Project, the LGBT Network, Out Rockaway and Queens Pride.

“Although we are not able to celebrate in Borough Hall together this year, we remember the history of pride and the trans women of color who took a stand against police brutality 51 years ago,” Van Bramer said.

“Queer liberation has always been a fight for social justice and we continue that fight today here in Queens. Happy Pride!”

Borough president announces appointments to community board

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Acting Borough President Sharon Lee appointed 339 people to serve in Queens’s 14 community boards on Tuesday.

Of the 399 appointees, 76 are first-time members who have never served on the board, but have shown a commitment and understanding to the community’s needs.

The two-year term for these appointees run from May 31, 2020 to March 31, 2022.

The office received 595 applications, including 252 from applicants who had never served on a community board. More than 340 were from those who were reapplying at the end of their 2020 term.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee announced in late March that community board members whose terms end on March 31 would continue for an additional 60 days.

Here are Borough President Lee’s appointments for the 2020-2022 term for Community Board 2, which serves Sunnyside and Woodside:

  • Amparo Abel-Bey
  • Thalia Batan
  • Nicholas Berkowitz
  • Sandra Bigitschke
  • Tannia Chavez
  • Osman Chowdhury
  • Stephen Cooper
  • Lisa Ann Deller
  • Morry Galonoy
  • Kenneth Greenberg
  • Jordan Levine
  • Sheila Lewandowski
  • Dominick Lippolis
  • Taina McShane
  • Thomas Mituzas
  • Clara Oza
  • Bianca Ozeri
  • Steven Raga
  • Norberto Saldana
  • Regina Shanley
  • Lauren Springer
  • Rebecca Trent
  • John Vaichunas
  • Julie Jaehee Won
  • Frank Wu.