04/21/14 1:00pm

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T’is the season to be amazed. On April 25th, the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company will open a four-weekend run of México en Primavera at the Thalía Spanish Theatre in Sunnyside. Twelve dancers and various musicians will pay tribute to the joys and soul of Mexico with a program capturing Spring’s color, vivaciousness, and feeling of newness. Authentic costumes, passionate live music, and larger than life surprises are in store, including the debut of Flores Chiapanecas (Flowers from Chiapas) with live marimba accompaniment. Founded in 2003 in NYC, Calpulli celebrates regional dance traditions of Mexico’s diverse cultural history, interpreted through its charismatic and unique artistic vision. The company has gained worldwide recognition, following a 2013 performance in the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Middle East.

Details: México en Primavera, Thalía Spanish Theatre, 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue, Sunnyside, four weekends from April 25th through May 18th, Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 4 pm, $35; $32 students and seniors, $30 on Fridays.

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Photos: Calpulli

04/17/14 12:30pm

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This gated entry point is one of the 37th Avenue portals to the NYC S.E.M./Signals Street Light Yard, a facility which stores and sorts various bits of street furniture and fittings – such as lamp posts, for instance. (Nearby the Home Depot on Northern Boulevard.)

In warmer times, this entire fence line is encased in a thorny vine whose fruit is a foul smelling purple-red berry. The edge of an evidently large facility, it seems seldom travelled by men, but shows all signs of serving as a protected haven for the many cats observed around it. Back in 2011, I was trudging home in a deep snow when something caught my eye.

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Something about this object was familiar to me, but its identity eluded. My thoughts keep drifting toward mental catalogs of midtown Manhattan transportation centers for some reason. Grand Central perhaps? Simple observations of the object revealed it to be metallic, and designed to exhibit a cuprous patina. Were it composed of copper or white bronze, as it is designed to appear, this would be a small fortune sitting out in the snow (from a scrap metal point of view). Sculptural ornamentation and overall design suggested “City beautiful” or “Beaux Arts” era design to me, but it is difficult at best to discern such things from an object divorced of its overall and proper setting.

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04/16/14 12:00pm

50-43 39th Pllace-LOTD

This home in Sunnyside, at 50-43 39th Place, is pretty darn cute. It’s a brick two family with five bedrooms, two garages, a yard and a finished basement. The interior is still showing off some nice interior details, and in general looks very well maintained. Our only complaint? That tiny kitchen! But we do love the modest front porch. The asking price comes in at $859,888. What say you?

50-43 39th Place [Coldwell Banker Phillips] GMAP

04/14/14 10:00am

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On Friday Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer announced that Sunnyside will receive two new public plazas as a part of the Department of Transportation’s NYC Plaza Program. The Sunnyside Shines BID submitted applications to install plazas at both 40th Street and Queens Boulevard (pictured) and 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. The DOT approved the applications this month and selected the Sunnyside Shines BID as the nonprofit partner to maintain them.

Both future plazas are located under the 7 train in areas currently closed to vehicular traffic. They’ll get outfitted with planters, benches and moveable tables and chairs open to the public. Sunnyside Shines will be in charge of programing events and activities in either space. But before the plazas are installed, the BID and DOT are looking for design and programming suggestions from the public. The first community outreach meeting to discuss these matters is happening on Wednesday, April 30th at 6:30 pm. It’s at Sunnyside Community Services, 43-13 39th Street.

Photo via Google Maps

03/20/14 1:00pm

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In the early 1990s, Reverend Vince Anderson dropped out of Union Theological Seminary, where he was studying to be a Methodist minister, because he wanted to pursue a career in music. Over the next few years, he and his Love Choir filled hipster hang outs like Black Betty and Union Pool in Williamsburg, while he led a church choir and studied to get ordained. He’s now happily pastoring and playing his unique brand of “rockin’ gospel,” bellowing out songs about Jesus and Job in a style that can elicit Motown, soul, jazz and a sermon at the same time. This Saturday night, Reverend Vince and his music will fill Sunnyside Reformed Church, where the audience will be clapping their hands and grooving in their seats.

Details: Vince Anderson & Friends, Sunnyside Reformed Church, 48-03 Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside, March 22nd, 7 pm, free, but donations accepted.

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03/17/14 11:00am

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A big part of being involved with the Newtown Creek story is attending an endless series of meetings.

There’s a Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee over in Greenpoint that provides community input and problems to DEP about the sewer plant, the Newtown Creek Alliance which spans and advocates for both sides of the Creek, and a Kosciuszko Bridge Stakeholders Committee as well. There’s a bunch of other groups and organizations, but these are the three which I always pay attention to and publicly identify myself with. The good thing about these meetings is that I get to know what’s happening, and get my camera pointed in the right direction at the right times.

Today’s big news is that a dredging project, which is anticipated to last around six weeks, is beginning on Newtown Creek. I’m afraid that I was unable to locate a live link to the pdf hosted at nyc.gov, but this is the official story as received. Here’s the text of the NYC DEP announcement.

From NYC Department of Environmental Protection:
OFFICE OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

NEWTOWN CREEK DREDGING UPDATE MARCH, 2014

Beginning the week of March 17, 2014 and continuing for approximately 6 weeks, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be dredging Newtown Creek. The following is a brief overview of the work scheduled and potential community impacts and mitigation measures.

WHY IS THIS WORK NECESSARY? The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest in the City and operates, like most plants, through an activated sludge process. In order for this treatment process to work, waste sludge must be removed every day. Presently, waste sludge is piped to a storage tank near the East River in Greenpoint and then transferred to a sludge vessel (boat) for delivery to Wards Island for further processing. DEP needs to demolish the sludge storage tank to make way for new affordable housing. A new sludge dock has been built at Whale Creek, adjacent to the Newtown Creek plant, and sludge vessels will soon receive waste sludge there instead of the existing East River tank and dock. However, to navigate to the new dock, maintenance dredging must be done along Newtown Creek to remove sediment and debris which accumulates in the waterway.

HOW WILL THE WORK BE PERFORMED? Dredge operations are expected to start in Whale Creek and then move west along Newtown Creek towards the Pulaski Bridge to the mouth of Newtown Creek. Operations will be performed initially in 12-hour shifts, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. As operations move into Newtown Creek, work will run 24 hours per day in order to minimize impacts to marine traffic. All work will be performed from barges located on the water with all required Coast Guard lighting and signage for safe boating.

COMMUNITY IMPACTS During the dredging operations, hydrogen sulfide gas trapped in the sediment may be released. This gas has a strong odor of rotten eggs. DEP will monitor for odor and take preventive measures to control the releases.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Please contact Shane Ojar, Director of Community Affairs at 718-595-4148 or via e-mail at sojar@dep.nyc.gov.

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This is a shot of dredging equipment at work over on Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull, another industrial waterway found across the harbor, just to give you an idea what to expect. I can tell you that sound and smell are going to be a common complaint over the next six weeks, based on personal experience. The NYC DEP told us that anyone experiencing discomfort due to this necessary activity should report it to 311, so that they can take steps to alleviate the odors.

If you smell something, say something, and call 311.

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Word has also reached me that a tree removal process will shortly be starting up in West Maspeth and Blissville, as well as parts of Brooklyn, in anticipation of the forthcoming reconstruction of the Kosciuszko Bridge.

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03/13/14 2:00pm

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The frozen yogurt shop 4 Squared Flavors opened this week in Sunnyside, at 45-12 Greenpoint Avenue. Sunnyside Post reported that this opening has been a long time coming, as the shop faced delays with its contractor. 4 Squared Flavors offers 16 different fro-yo options with 30 different toppings to choose from. Yogurt flavors include red velvet cake, pistachio, strawberry, blueberry, cookies ‘n cream and New York cheesecake. The neon-colored store has a lounge area for sitting, as well as an iPad dock for customers to surf the web. Sunnyside residents should expect a grand opening party in about three weeks.

Frozen Yogurt Store on Greenpoint Ave. Opens [Sunnyside Post] GMAP

Photo via Facebook

03/11/14 3:00pm

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A colorful mural is now on display on the wall of the laundromat at Greenpoint Avenue and 43rd Street, in Sunnyside. Sunnyside Post reports that the artwork is by Freddie “Free5″ Rodriguez. Two other artists also refreshed the mural of a woman right beside it. It certainly livens up an otherwise boring brick wall, which takes up most of the block.

Street Artist Paints Mural on 43rd Street [Sunnyside Post]

Photo by George Burles via Sunnyside Post

03/03/14 11:00am

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I met a dog at a parade on Sunday, a dog named Spike. That’s Spike in the shot above. He’s Irish, apparently.

The parade was the St. Pat’s Day For All event, held in Sunnyside. For those of us who live anywhere nearby, it signals that Spring is on the way, and it’s a “do not miss it” kind of thing. The shots in this post are selected from a much larger set of better than a hundred shots, which I’ve made available over at Flickr. If you or your group marched in the St. Pat’s Day for All parade, there might be a shot of you in there.

Click here for a slideshow (opens in a new window) of everything and everyone that caught my eye.

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The parade is predicated on inclusivity, and its organizers opine that everyone can be Irish on St. Pat’s.

From their website:

The St. Pat’s for All parade celebrates the diversity of the Irish and Irish American communities of New York. First held in 2000, St.Pat’s for All cherishes and celebrates an inclusive St. Patrick’s season. Ours is the first in the 260 years + of Irish parades in New York City to be open and welcoming to all who wish to share in the spirit of the day. We err on the side of hospitality. Our theme “cherishing all the children of the nation equally” is taken from the 1916 Easter Proclamation of the Irish Republic. It is a vision drawn from our past and a guide for our present & future.

See tons of photos of the event right after the jump…

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02/19/14 1:00pm

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In 1964, more than 700 college students trekked to Mississippi to join other volunteers and community organizers to register African Americans to vote. Over a 10-week period known as “Freedom Summer,” these activists encountered stiff resistance from the Ku Klux Klan and even all-white local law enforcement agencies that included the murders of three civil rights workers, countless beatings, the burning of 35 churches and the bombing of 70 homes and community centers. However, their efforts aided the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which registered voters and sent 68 members to the 1964 Democratic National Convention to confront and unseat the all-white state delegation. On February 22nd, Stanley Nelson, a filmmaker and 2002 MacArthur Genius Fellow, will screen his documentary, Freedom Summer, at Sunnyside Reformed Church. He will also be in attendance for a Q&A related to this powerful movie, which won three Primetime Emmy Awards. Freedom Summer debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, but it will make its East Coast premiere in Sunnyside.

Details: Freedom Summer, Sunnyside Reformed Church, 48th Street and Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside, February 22nd, 7 pm, free with suggested donation.

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