Van Bramer hosts 10th annual Holiday Food Drive

Food Drive Flyer 12 2019

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


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


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

EDC to host digital town hall on Sunnyside Yard


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


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.

La Placita comes to Lowery Plaza this weekend

File photo
File photo

A weekend-long pop-up market and festival celebrating Latinx culture is coming to Sunnyside this weekend.

Sunnyside Shines and Queens Night Market are bringing La Placita: A Celebration of Latinx Culture, to Lowery Plaza at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard from noon to 6 p.m. on October 26-27.

The celebration will feature over a dozen local vendors specializing in handmade, artisanal and local goods, along with musical performances, arts and craft activities, Halloween pageants for kids and pets, and food samplings from Sunnyside restaurants specializing in Latin cuisines.

Here is the run of show for La Placita:

  • 12 noon: Pop Up Market Opens
  • 1-3 pm: Food and Home Collage Zine Workshop with Cristina Ferrigno
  • 2-4: Ojo de Dios craftmaking with Maria Liebana
  • 2-4 Live music performance: The Afro-Latineers
  • 3-5 pm: Drop in kids Halloween pageant and trick or treating around the Plaza!
  • 4:45-5:45: Israel Martinez Salsa Performance and Mini Lesson
  • 5: Raffle drawing (6 prizes)
  • 12 noon: Pop Up Market Opens
  • 2-4: Ojo de Dios craftmaking with Maria Liebana
  • 2-4 Live music Performance: TBD
  • 4-6 pm: Drop in pets Halloween pageant and trick or doggie-treating around the plaza
  • 4:45-5:45: Israel Martinez Salsa Performance and Mini Lesson
  • 5: Raffle drawing (6 prizes)

Van Bramer to honor local Latinx leaders


Next Tuesday, October 15, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will host his 10th annual Hispanic & Latinx Leadership Awards at Thalia Spanish Theatre in Sunnyside.

Here are this year’s honorees:

  • Beny Castro, Sunnyside Shines BID
  • Kevin Montalvo, Queens Distance Runners/Queens Marathon
  • Maritza Silva-Farrell, ALIGN
  • Martha Sanchez, activist/community organizer
  • Memo Salazar, filmmaker/activist
  • Rosalie Quinones, former school administrator

The event features free musical performances and light refreshments.


Boulevard Gardens intersection will get a traffic light


Assemblyman Brian Barnwell was just a kid when his neighbors began advocating for street safety measures around the Boulevard Gardens co-op complex in Woodside.

Some three decades later, Barnwell, who still lives in his lifelong home, was able to work with Councilman Costa Constantinides and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install a traffic light at Hobart Street and 30th Avenue.

Earlier this week, DOT announced that the light will be installed by the end of the year.

“Thirty-five years of writing letters and making calls are finally over,” Constantinides said.

Over the years, the city tried different methods to slow down drivers in the area. They tried an all-way stop sign, and a blinking red light. Those measures failed.

Now, in addition to the traffic light, the DOT has implemented these other enhancements:

  • Installing a large concrete triangle at the tip of Strippoli Square (51st and 54th Streets at 31st Avenue)
  • Painting a large triangle section at Hobart and 51st Streets
  • Realigning and narrowing the moving lanes along Hobart Street
  • Extending the concrete curb at Hobart Street and 30th Avenue
  • Making all crossings ADA-compliant with pedestrian access ramps