Van Bramer exits Queens borough president race

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Sunnyside Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has dropped out of the special election for Queens borough president.

In a campaign email to supporters on Monday morning, Van Bramer announced the end to his campaign.

“Family circumstances have been weighing on me for some time, causing me to reconsider the timing and feasibility of this campaign,” he wrote.

“Prioritizing my responsibilities as a son and brother is where my attention needs to be right now, ” he added. “While this is a difficult decision, this is the right one for me and my family at this time.”

Van Bramer’s third and final term in the City Council will end in 2021.

The sudden announcement was shocking because Van Bramer was starting to pick up momentum from a slew of endorsements, most recently from LGBTQ leaders.

He had also raised more than $310,000 in campaign contributions, the second highest behind former Councilwoman Liz Crowley.

While Van Bramer’s next steps are uncertain – he is term-limited – he will have more opportunities to run for Queens borough president after this special election on March 24.

After the special election will be the primary in June, followed by the general election in November.

In 2021, there will be another primary and general election, this time for a full four-year term as Queens BP.

Parking meters won’t take cards in parts of Sunnyside

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UPDATE: It turns out the parking meter malfunction was citywide, and it was due to a technical glitch from the start of the new year.

According to reports, the payment software on muni-meters was configured to end on January 1, 2020. The vendor that was hired to develop the system forgot to update its software.

The city’s DOT has reportedly said there’s no estimate for how long the fix will take.

That means for the time being, we advise that you carry some quarters with you to pay the meter. Or at the very least, find your local bodega or laundromat for change!

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This morning, parking meters in areas of Sunnyside appeared to have a malfunction of some kind.

The muni-meters on 47th Street and Greenpoint Avenue did not take credit or debit cards, and only accepted coins. The meters along Queens Boulevard and 43rd Avenue also had the same problem.

Even the machines under the 46th Street/Bliss Street station overpass did not take cards.

As of 2 p.m., the machines still did not work properly.

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We’ve reached out to the Department of Transportation to about the issue. DOT requested users to file a 311 complaint.

The meter problem did not appear to be citywide or even borough-wide. Motorists we’ve contacted in Forest Hills and Astoria confirmed that the meters in those commercial areas were working.

We’ll keep you posted on how the DOT responds to our inquiry.

Woodside landlord is the third worst in the city

Photo courtesy of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Photo courtesy of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

A notorious landlord with a large residential property in Woodside landed yet again on the city’s Worst Landlords List.

Eric Silverstein, who owns the 78-unit building at 37-45 59th Street in Woodside, dropped from first to third on the public advocate’s watchlist.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who visited the site with State Senator Mike Gianaris, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Woodside on the Move this week, said his place on the list is not a cause or celebration.

“He didn’t get better, other landlords got worse,” Williams said.

Silverstein owns four buildings on the 2019 list, totaling 315 units. His buildings average 1,144 HPD violations per month over the last year, including unsafe wiring, roach and mice infestations, faulty window guards, leaks and mold.

Here’s the Top 10 Watchlist for buildings in Queens.

Van Bramer hosts 10th annual Holiday Food Drive

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Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is hosting his 10th annual Holiday Food Drive from now until December 20.

The drive is collecting the following non-perishable food items: canned meats, canned soups, canned veggies, canned/dried fruit, infant formula, peanut butter, dried goods, other pasta, rice and grains.

The collected items will support the women and children who receive services at the Long Island City-based nonprofit Hour Children.

Here are the drop-off locations:

  • Sunnyside Library, 43-06 Greenpoint Ave.

  • Woodside Library, 54-22 Skillman Ave.

  • Long Island City Library, 37-44 21 St.

  • Court Square Library, 25-01 Jackson Ave.

  • Broadway Library, 40-20 Broadway

  • Hunters Point Library, 47-01 Center Blvd.

  • Van Bramer’s District Office, 47-01 Queens Blvd.

TONIGHT: Sunnyside Shines Annual Holiday Lighting

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The holiday season is almost upon us, and that can only mean one thing: lighting ceremonies!

Tonight, Sunnyside Shines BID is hosting its annual lighting ceremony at 43rd Street and Greenpoint Avenue from 6 to 7 p.m.

There will be performances by The Fabulous Fezziwigs Carollers, Sunnyside Drum Corps, McManus Irish Dance, Manhatitlan Mexican Dance, Sunnyside Ballet and Dance Matters NYC.

Enjoy free coffee and hot chocolate, courtesy of White Castle.

To get a sense of what goes down at the ceremony, check out this article covering last year’s event.

Gianaris hosts Thanksgiving Creative Program

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State Senator Mike Gianaris is hosting his annual Thanksgiving-themed creative program once again this year.

Young people from across western Queens are invited to submit a creative depiction showing what they are thankful for this time of year.

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade can submit works of art, poems or short stories. Entries are due by November 25.

“This program provides students an opportunity to reflect on the holiday season and learn to express themselves creatively,” Gianaris says. “I encourage young people to embrace their creative spirit this Thanksgiving season.”

Entries can be submitted on Gianaris’s website at gianaris.nysenate.gov.

EDC to host digital town hall on Sunnyside Yard

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The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is hosting another town hall event on the master plan for Sunnyside Yard.

This time, the town hall, which takes place on Wednesday, December 4 at 7 p.m., will be digital.

To register for the webinar, click here.

The public meeting will be a chance for EDC to showcase their draft of the master plan for the massive development project. EDC will present what they’ve heard from the public at earlier meetings.

In September, EDC hosted its third public meeting at Aviation High School, but it was derailed by protesters who oppose the project.

To possibly avoid interruptions, EDC says in its invite that it will send information on how to connect on December 4.

Sunnyside native Dermot Shea will be next police commissioner

Mayor Bill de Blasio today announces that Dermot Shea will be the next Commissioner of the New York Police Department in the Blue Room at City Hall on Monday, November 4, 2019. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor Bill de Blasio today announces that Dermot Shea will be the next Commissioner of the New York Police Department in the Blue Room at City Hall on Monday, November 4, 2019. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

As Police Commissioner James O’Neill steps down from the helm at the NYPD, replacing him will be a native son of Sunnyside.

Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio announced that the next commissioner will be Dermot Shea, the department’s current Chief of Detectives, who will step into his new role on December 1.

Shea, the son of Irish immigrants, grew up in Sunnyside. He graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a Bachelor of Science and currently lives in Manhattan with his wife Serena, three children Jackie, Lauren and Richie, grandson Aidan and dog Miley.

He began his career as a police officer in 1991, and rose up the ranks to serve as a precinct commander of the 44th and 50th precincts in the Bronx.

In 2014, Shea was appointed Chief of Crime Control Strategies and Deputy Commissioner for Operations, where he oversaw the CompStat system. He focused the NYPD’s efforts on intelligence-driven prosecutions in close cooperation with the district attorneys.

In 2018, he was promoted to Chief of Detectives, where he oversaw all of the department’s investigation operations, including all criminal investigations.

In addition to building on the success of neighborhood policing, Shea intends to target gang-related violence and taking guns off our streets.

It’s My Park Day at Doughboy Plaza

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On Saturday, November 2, come out to Doughboy Plaza in Woodside for the annual “It’s My Park Day.”

This is your chance to volunteer with the NYC Compost Project, hosted by Big Reuse Green Team, to help beautify the Woodside green space.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at Woodside Avenue and 56th Street.

For more information, contact 718-777-0112.