Monday, August 31, 2009

Bloomberg is Coming, September 2


So, if you have any questions for him...



The name Marmara is slowly fading away.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Owning Marmara


A sign on the door of Marmara, I noticed today.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another Business, Gone


A store on the same block as Marmara is closed and looking for a new tenant. Sigh.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Life in Marmara?

Marmara restaurant, located at 39th Place and Queens Boulevard, has been closed for months. But tonight, walking by the restaurant windows on 39th Place, I saw two men inside the kitchen.<

Maybe a sign of a re-opening?

Let's hope. But maybe, this time, they could get their liquor license. Here's the Chronicle's restaurant review from December 2007:

"With its pastel-colored interior, track lighting and ample space offered between tables, Marmara has a romantic ambience and is as good a “date restaurant” as any you will find a few miles west in Manhattan with prices that are far more reasonable. Marmara has not obtained its liquor license yet, but patrons are allowed to bring their own bottle of wine if they desire."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

R.I.P. Ivan Cortes

Here's the sidewalk memorial for Ivan Cortes, who died on August 5 on Queens Boulevard.

Anybody know more about what happened?

Sunday, July 5, 2009


The novel! Its main character is Charlie Chaplin. Anybody reading it?

About the book, from Amazon:

Sunnyside opens on a winter day in 1916 during which Charlie Chaplin is spotted in more than eight hundred places simultaneously, an extraordinary delusion that forever binds the overlapping fortunes of three men: Leland Wheeler, son of the world’s last (and worst) Wild West star, as he finds unexpected love on the battlefields of France; Hugo Black, drafted to fight under the towering General Edmund Ironside in America’s doomed expedition against the Bolsheviks; and Chaplin himself, as he faces a tightening vise of complications—studio moguls, questions about his patriotism, his unchecked heart, and, most menacing of all, his mother.

Fom the author:

My great aunt Ingrid, a journalist, was Chaplin's neighbor in Switzerland; family legend has it that he dictated parts of his autobiography to her.

So: in 1914, Chaplin was barely even a film comedian, Hollywood was a farm town where the lights went out at 8 o'clock, and America was more or less a great big cornfield with an occasional city poking among its rows. And in 1918, Chaplin was a genius, Hollywood was the world's aspirational mecca, and America... well, America was in serious trouble, in that it thought it had won the War.

Sunnyside is the story of this rapid transformation as Chaplin and his adopted country lose, one more devastating time, their innocence.

46th Street Going Car-Free

On Saturdays in August. From Peter Davis:

Beginning on August 1 and continuing for the rest of the Saturdays during the month, the city will close down 46th Street between Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue to cars from noon to 7 p.m. and replace the cars with open space and events for community residents to enjoy.


In addition to having tables and chairs set up as the main feature of the plaza, Bonilla said they are planning some special events for the car-free Saturdays. Already, they have scheduled a memorial concert in honor of the famous American jazz musician Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke for August 8, and there is a free program for children planned in connection with the Queens Library for August 22.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The New Beer Garden

looks pretty cool.

Judith and Megc have more on it over here.

The details:

35-33 36th Street (between 35th & 36th Avenues)
Long Island City
Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays, 12 p.m. - 4 a.m.

Future Planning

liQcity has a great list of upcoming events nearby:

Thursday 5/28

*It’s Ladies Night every Thursday night at Shi Restaurant, offering 2 for 1 drink specials. 4720 Center Blvd, LIC, 347.242.2450
*Manducatis Rustica is hosting live music from 7:30-10pm in the form of a jazz/funk band recreating classic old Italian songs. 46-33 Vernon Blvd, LIC, 718.937.1312
*‘Trans-positions along the Queensboro Bridge’ opens today, a contemporary art production in which 44 artists exhibit their work in 5 LIC venues: Henry DeFord III Gallery at CitiGroup (One Court Sq 44th Dr at Jackson Ave), Space Realty Group, Packard Square Lobby, Holiday Inn Manhattan View, and the Clocktower Building (29-27 Queens Plaza N, ground FL). On view 9am-5pm, Mon thru Fri at all 5 venues. Opening reception on Saturday, May 30, 6-8pm. Running through July 31. Check the website or PDF for more QB Bridge Centennial events.
*Enjoy 5 straight days of live original music in Astoria and LIC with the Astoria Music & Arts ROCK ODYSSEY event series. Thursday kicks off the ODYSSEY with music, dance, a short film festival, and DJing at Astoria’s Club SANM. Doors at 7pm, $5 cover. See flyer for details – ROCK ODYSSEY live music events run through Monday, June 1 at venues such as Hell Gate Social, Lucky Mojo’s, and LIC Bar. 35-15 36th Ave., Astoria, 718.786.0874

Friday 5/29

*Bar Domaine hosts the local Steve Blanco Trio twice a week on Tuesday and Friday. 9p-midnight. 50-04 Vernon Blvd, LIC, 718.784.2350
*Opening reception of Craig Stewart’s exhibition at Dean Project in conjunction with Queens Council on the Arts. 6-9pm. 45-43 21 St, LIC, 718.706.1462
*‘Queensboro Bridgescapes’ exhibition by artist Antonio Masi opens at The Space’s Fardom Gallery. Wed & Fri 12pm-9pm, Thurs & Sat 12pm-6pm. Through June 26. Reception and artist talk on June 3, 6:30-8:30pm. 21-17 41st Ave., LIC, 718.752.0331

New Terry Signs


The most romantic little mystery in the neighborhood is continuing, with a slightly new sign from the girl who is looking for Terry.

Coming Soon


That Sprint PCS Store seems to be on its way to opening.

Cleaning Up the Neighborhood


Here's the before-and-after of the wall along 39th Place just off Queens Boulevard, which used to have graffiti on it. Before I called 311 about it a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sometimes, the Pickups at the Bar

Work out well:
Jennifer, 36, director of communications at the Daily News, and Owen, 36, a computer programmer at Katz Media Group, met at a bar in Sunnyside, Queens, in January 2007.

After nine months, the couple started dating. Owen proposed on Sept. 1, 2008, while they were on vacation in the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.

Take heart thirteenwinters.

The Race from Aubergine Cafe

Which starts here, and goes to Columbus Circle, was won by a guy on a bicycle, who beat out a guy in a taxi, and another guy in a subway.

The story:

NEW YORK—When you’ve been in a hurry to get to work or to catch a show, have you ever wondered what form of readily available transportation would get you there the fastest? That is the spirit behind Transportation Alternatives’ 8th Annual NYC Commuter Race, where three commuters-one by bike, one by subway, and one by taxi-raced to see who could make their commute the fastest. And in the end, the winner by more than 15 minutes was Bronx librarian Rachael Myers on her bicycle.

"As soon as I saw all the traffic backed up on the Queensboro Bridge, I knew this wasn't going to be a fair fight," boasted Myers, who rode her bicycle to victory. "I actually was able to finish a cup of coffee before anyone else made it to the finish line.”

Myers finished the four point two mile race from the Aubergine Café in Sunnyside, Queens to Columbus Circle in Manhattan in 20 minutes 15 seconds, beating out transit rider Dan Hendrick (35:16) and taxi rider Willie Thompson (47:11).

Replacing 'The Grind'

Will be a Sprint PCS store, and a health food store, according to one of the construction guys working on the place.

It'll be located at 39th Place and Queens Boulevard. The Grind is actually still in business, operating just around the corner.

More About Terry

I emailed the person who is looking for Terry, and she said:

If you see him, he is tall, light skin and black hair. I believe he has a Ukrainian background or similar. He's grown up in Queens. I am sorry I didn't ask for his contact that night....he was so sweet. he walked me home in the rain under his umbrella. i was soaking.

I'm not sure how successful this venture will be, but it strikes me as sweetly nostalgic. From another time way back when before people found other people
on jdate, craigslist, etc.

Looking for Love by the 7 Train

This flier was by the 40th Street station in Sunnyside this morning. Here's what it says:

Studying electrical engineering?
Walked with me home in the rain?
Crazy as this is, I’ve been looking
for you everywhere.
If it’s you, and by some random
Chance you see this, contact me.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Resuscitate Journalism, and Coffee Shops

By combining them:

The newsrooms-cum-cafes are part of a new venture in so-called hyperlocal journalism, which aims to reconnect newspapers with readers and advertisers by focusing on neighborhood concerns at a neighborhood level: think garbage collection schedules, not Group of 7 diplomacy.

Hyperlocal publications have been springing up across Europe and North America as newspapers seek a formula for survival. But the Czech plan, the project of PPF Group, an investment firm, goes unusually far in its goal of weaving journalists into the communities they serve.

“There is no option to close the door” between the cafes and the adjacent newsrooms, said Roman Gallo, director of media strategies at PPF. “It’s a feeling for the reader that you can touch your editor and tell them what you want.

“The position of the journalist is not just to be observing and writing something on the newspaper or on the Web, but also to help people have the tools to do something in their community.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cleaning Up Barnett Ave. & 50th Street

The intersection of Barnett Avenue and 50th Street is so desolate, and out-of-the-way, that Google maps doesn’t even go there.

It’s also been a haven for illegal dumping, as the Times notes. It's been driving some people around here nuts, like community board 2 chairman Joe Conley, and the vice president of Friends of Sunnyside Gardens Park, Ciaran Staunton.

Buried in the story though, some good news:

Jennifer Manley, the Queens liaison from the mayor’s office, was able to cobble together some assistance for the area.

Some city agencies will be chipping in later this week, providing maintenance workers and machinery to haul away the heavy appliances that find their way onto the stretch, and to level out the soil enough to create a walkway. And on May 16, residents will clear out the remaining small litter and plant flowers and shrubs along the path.

Celebrity Blogger, Resident

Jessica Valenti, Sunnyside resident and founder of the influential site, Feministing, has an interview with U TV.

I meet Valenti at her pretty brick house in Sunnyside, Queens, a planned community that was built in the 1920s and was once home to the architectural historian Lewis Mumford. On the wall is an Edwardian poster claiming to reveal the inside of a woman's brain: chocolates, love letters, clothes, babies and puppies are rendered next to two dapper-looking men. "I often wonder about that," says Valenti. "Women think about what? Chocolate, babies and... homosexuals?" On the dining-room table is a pile of invitations to the wedding she is planning for October, an event that has garnered a great deal of commentary since she wrote about it in the Guardian last month. She will be wearing an off-white wedding dress, keeping her surname and asking guests to donate money (in lieu of a gift) to a charity fighting for same-sex marriage rights. Her fiancé, Andrew, 25, calls himself a feminist too and is the deputy publisher of a political blog,

"Want to see the dress?" Valenti asks, springing up in the face of superstition. On the back of a cupboard door in the spare bedroom is a beautiful, floor-length, white, appliquéd, organza gown with a dove-grey silk lining. The neckline and the back are cut into a deep V shape. I mutter something about not wearing anything underneath it and she replies: "Luckily the girls are still in pretty good shape." I am slightly flummoxed - was there mention of bridesmaids? Only later does it occur to me that she must have been referring to her breasts.

Valenti grew up in a shop that sold bras and she certainly saw no reason to burn them. That was one of the many small businesses her parents owned. They also sold, in her words, "old lady velour jumpsuits and bedazzled sweatshirts"; they now have a health-food store. She and her younger sister, Vanessa, who also works at Feministing, are part of a large Italian-American family, who all lived on the same block in Long Island City.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The View

A scene from the 40th Street Station.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Name on the Boulevard


Here's a shot of the street renaming on Queens Boulevard between 38th Street and 58th Street after the late Tom Manton, a former City Councilman, congressman, the decades-long Queens County Democratic Leader.

To be technical, the boulevard isn't being renamed so much as dual-named. So, no need to change anyone's address.

It would be interesting to find out if anyone can actually get mailed sent to their address on Thomas J. Manton Boulevard.

Anyway, the event took place on April 25, and approved by Community Board 2 two years earlier.

It was a fairly-big event that got picked up some news outlets like New York 1 and my newspaper. It also drew a host of notable guests, including Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Anthony Weiner.

So, a big day in the neighborhood.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Attracting the Neighbors

The Western Queens Gazette explains what drew some graffiti people to the neighborhood:
The meeting concluded with Deputy Inspector Kavanagh’s report. In general, the crime rate continues to fall, he said, though grand larceny stubbornly refuses to. Drug dealing is also in decline in the precinct, he said, citing the good work of Lieutenant Mark Wachter and his men in achieving that situation. The graffiti arrest took place Wednesday, April 8, when two cars in the area aroused police suspicion. When their drivers were stopped for questioning, the police discovered a total of 55 cans of spray paint and other marking material in the cars. When they were arrested, the suspects were found to be from the Throgs Neck section of The Bronx, and it transpired they have a huge reputation in that borough. It seems they were attracted to Queens by the prospect of all the wall space made available by the reconstruction, circa 2001-2007, of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway between Woodside and East Elmhurst.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


The storefront of this deli on Queens Boulevard offers a view of the Manhattan, and Sunnyside skylines. Can't get that in Midtown.

Car Thefts

Seem to be on the rise, according to stats from the 108th Precinct.

There were four G.L.A. (grand larceny for automobiles) reported this week. One year ago this week, there was only one.

A Small Reprieve

The financial crisis is hitting home for everybody.The only thing to do, really, is hope it doesn't hit too directly.

With that in mind, a small piece of good news.

The local branch of the HSB mortgage lender which is set to close, isn't actually in Sunnyside, but rather, in nearby Ridgewood.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Parade on Sunday

Tomorrow is the St. Pat's for All Parade, one of the biggest events Sunnyside hosts all year.

It kicks off at the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Skillman, and is an alternative to the larger, better known St. Patrick's parade in Manhattan. The main difference is - as the name suggests - is that LGBT parade goers are more celebrated here.

It's also a great chance to see a parade and hear some music without crossing a bridge.

Footage from past parades here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

See the Nominee

Earlier today - hours before the red carpet got rolled out - people were lined up at Center Cinemas, where only one of the movies showing is up for best picture.

The Oscars

Are on at the Diving Bell, for all of us who don't get to walk down the red carpet.

And there's free WiFi there too!

So, predictions...?

$1,000 Winner

The business improvement district here, Sunnyside Shines, will announce the winner of the $1,000 winner of their logo design contest on February 27, on their web site.

The group has a bunch of photos on their site, which makes for a fun patchwork of the neighborhood's flavors.

It's too late to enter the contest, but this would have been my contribution.

How the Neighborhood Does 'Cutesy' Stuff

Thank You Dog Lovers

For not making the neighborhood crappy, which, apparently, is a problem in other areas. (Kudos specifically to Sunnyside United Dog Society)

Today's New York Post looks at the neighborhoods with the highest number of fines for not picking up dog pooh.

Being on the list isn't a prize, but it does show that in those areas there is, at least, an effort to enforce the scoop law.

How To Get Here When the 7 Train Acts Funny

For our friends in Manhattan and Brooklyn that suffer with infrequent 7 train service, which, may end by March 2.

Food for Everyone

Under one roof [at 40-01 Queens Blvd.]

Anyone have a review of the coffee there?

UPDATE: I'm not the only one curious about the reviews from this place. It's existence has been acknowledged, but not much critiqued.

Yoga Classes Coming

At Yoga Tonic, on 44th Street right off Queens Boulevard.

I think it's a good sign, but some, like Shauna Eats Sunnyside, disagree:

the new yoga joint wedged between the diamond-and-gold-buying kazakhi barbershop and an indescript window treatment store, yoga tonic (on 44th st b/w queens blvd and greenpoint ave), touts medieval torture device technology offering results akin to that of an intense boxing workout. um, yeah, that’s exactly what this neighborhood needs - renaissance-era pain machines and women with obnoxiously ripped biceps.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Bar

The ladies at Astoria NYC have the scoop on a nearby bar opening up next week.

UPDATE: LIQCITY has photos, and says it's sorta fancy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Most Optimistic Blog Ever

Posting for an entire year about things he's grateful for.

Appropriately called A Year of Thanksgiving.

If you need that sort of thing.

Crime Stats: Jan 26 to Feb. 1

Compared to a year ago this week...
robberies are on par at 3
but burglaries are up slightly, to 7, compared to 5.

But if you listen to the former chief economist at the city comptroller's office, John Tepper Marlin, it may get worse.

In an NYT article, he said, “I’m concerned about people being so desperate that they lose the fear of losing their own lives and they become so desperate that they’re willing to endanger other people’s lives."

Still on Sale...

The November 5 edition of the New York Times is already a collectors item, and fetching at least $39 on eBay.

But it's still on sale around the neighborhood, like at this deli/supermarket on 43rd Ave. and 45th Street.

Anywhere else?

Couch Lobby

This couch appeared in the lobby of my 39th Place building over the weekend. As of Monday morning, it was still there.

So, if you're interested...

Monday, January 19, 2009


WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer was asking people what they were doing to commemorate the memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, and got this upbeat message.

From Laura from Sunnyside:

I used to volunteer at various organizations, but then life got too crazy and I stopped. The Obamas have invigorated me to do it again. On Monday, I'll be volunteering at The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

Anyone else inspired?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Queensboro Plaz Art

Mark Pagano has this beautiful sketching, titled Queensboro Plaza, on his web site.

I also came across this grainy image of the plaza on Flickr from photog Rhodes.

Rhodes also has this grainy, but beautiful shot of 5 Points art space, helpfully labeled "somewhere along Queens Blvd along the 7 train."

Which is next door to us and better known as Long Island City.

Any other good photos out there?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Bridge

The Times gives some love to the Borden Avenue Bridge, which is quietly undergoing a $17 million rehabilitation.

Their affection for the neighborhood is less evident:
[U]nlike its more heralded peers of similar endurance, this bridge tends not to attract tourists. It is in the industrial neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens, under an elevated section of the Long Island Expressway, and the antifreeze-colored water that creeps slowly below it often emits a stink. An almost-windowless strip club sits nearby.


So, we're moving in and hopefully, in the coming weeks, getting to know the people we'll be calling neighbors.

Recommendations on where to grab decent coffee and rooftops with the best view are appreciated.

Tonight, for only the second time in my life, I signed a lease. Here's what I learned:

The rent for the apartment was around $1,000 last year. But the company put $26,000 of improvements into it (new appliances, redoing the floors, etc.), so now, the rent jumped to about $1,500. It's still rent controlled, but next year, it could go to just over $1,700.

By 2010, I'm guessing this hits $2,000 and is no longer rent controlled. (Inching towards gentrification!)

Also, because of some deal with the broker, we get a month free of (basic) cable and Internet.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Local Endorsement

A few people who have followed our apartment-hunting adventures have asked us why we liked Sunnyside.

Here's why:

Because the Korean woman from New Jersey who works in the Italian gelato store said it's a nice neighborhood.

Where else can you find that!

When I find the link for that gelato store, I'll add it in.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

40th Street

Thinking about moving to 40th Street, in Sunnyside.

There's a 1-bedroom on the first floor of a pre-war building, rent-stabilized, about 1 block to the 7 train (which is elevated, and won't prevent me from blackberrying while I wait).

There's a Dunkin Donuts within eyeshot of the corner, plus plenty of great places to eat.

The only drawback may be the proliferation of Sunnyside-esque blog names that blocked me from grabbing a better URL. Before settling on our current address, I came across:

The Sunnysiders, a married couple which hasn't posted an entry since October 22, 2007;

Sunnysider, which was created in 2006 "by three kids who live in Virginia who decided to make a website that they thought would be a cool site for kids to have fun on." They posted one more entry before disappearing;

the more relevant Sunnyside Queens blog posted a few pictures and grumbled about the dangers of cell phone towers before vanishing in March of 2007.

So, maybe we're treading on well-worn territory, but it could be fun exploring this neighborhood.