Monday, September 3, 2007

Sunnyside bickering continues least one homeowner has already run afoul of the district's new guidelines.

Inspectors responded to a 44th Street home owned by Sunnyside restaurateur Hiroshi Hatazaki Aug. 15 after a caller reported construction there not approved by the Landmark Preservation Commission.

Sunnyside Gardens chafes under landmarking

Online records of the violation show Hatazaki was cited for removing a shake roof and constructing a structural addition to the two-story brick townhouse.

A plastic tarp covered the roof of the building last week.

Hatazaki said he supported the establishment of the historic district, but was surprised when the city issued him a stop-work order.

"I asked my roofer and my roofer said we don't need a permit for the roof," he said. "I spent maybe more than $20,000."

Allen said neighbors are blowing the whistle on neighbors, creating a tense atmosphere.

Can't you all just get along?

Photo from NY Magazine


westernqueensland said...

The homeowners around here have been snitching at each other for years. There were consequences before the landmarking, but I think the stakes have risen. There are not really egregious additions, I think that the complaining is mostly petty and personal.

It is a great place to live, and I just wish I could own, but that ship has sailed. Fortunately most of the houses are owned by longer term residents, so we've not yet been park-sloped, but that will happen (we have a starbucks since last year).

I hate the fact that they keep the kids off of the grass (so we have to go to Astoria or Flushing for grass), but I think that is part of the petty snitch culture that lives here.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the reasons that local preservationists don't even bother talking to the local newspapers.

It is amazing how the machine's thumb is on the throat of the media.

Beleieve me, if this was an opportunity for the machine to tweed, the people's complaints and publicity would get nowhere. Just look at Norwood Gardens or the First Presyterian Church of Astoria or the Silvercup waterfront landgrab.

The machine is fightened, but the people, for the first time, ignored them and did what was best for them.

The machine cannot take this laying down, because if this happens once, it could happen again and again and ... well, what happens to the machine if they are ignored?

A plaque ceremony with bricklayer Onorato published in Vicky's newspapers covered with a two page spread by Dee ... and no one came?

Anonymous said...

Well, this also points to another problem and that is the preservation community, smug and self satisfied that they have the important areas designated, did nothing to educate the public.

Anonymous said...

This article is crap, intented to sow dissention in the community.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

Does the editor of this paper have ties to developers?

Anonymous said...

Come on guys, you a just not used to a community with an active civic tradition.

The emphasis in Queens is to keep your mouth shut, your head down, or you know what is coming to you.

Its GOOD that people voice opinions. That is the American way.

Being a doormat, well, take a look at Astoria. The politicians let the electric grid rot, have a blackout, then call a hearing, and all of 8 people show up.

That is the perscription for a community ripe to be stip mined. That is a community that has begun its slide downhill.

That is one of the reasons that the folks in Sunnyside sort of look down on Astoria.

Keep complaininng Sunnyside. You got to fight for your right to ppppaaaarrrtttyyyy!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Mr. Hatazaki can make up for the 20 Gs boo-boo in a couple of months.

Most restaurants report only
1/2 the cash they take in......and most do very well.

Bad boy Hiroshi. Next time you'll know better!

Anonymous said...

Remember the 60s British import series,
"The Prisoner"?

It's starting to resemble what life is like in SSG.
I wouldn't live there on a bet.

It's just a poor man's Forest Hills Gardens!

sir blood sport said...

I say use the enclosed interior common space
for jousts so that waring "neighbors"
can go at it for real......
with lances, axes and swords in full armour
sell tickets.....I'd love to attend!

Meicklejohn on horseback.......way to go !
Can'st thou just see it? !!!

Anonymous said...

Who is financing that rump group in Sunnyside and what are the ties to the community board and politicians.

I understand someone is looking into that.

Stay tuned....

(When it breaks we will find the machine made a big mistake here!!)

sunnyside up said...

How is the City supposed to find out about legal violations without citizen participation? Do we want a "police state" where the (landmark, zoning, building) cops sneak behind every corner checking into our every action? Miriam Allen wants to have a community that endorses illegal work!

Anonymous said...

Not a good idea to take legal advise from a roofer looking to make money.

Anonymous said...

"use the enclosed interior common space for jousts"

Would there be a fair maiden to be won? If so count me in!

Anonymous said...

how could a home owner NOT be aware of the zoning ?
it's on your tax bills,etc.
aaaaaaaaaaand if YOU are obeying the laws,wouldn't you be slightly pissed off that a newbie strolls in and starts working outta line ?

landmark designation for sunnyside has been around for a while now,no ? and if they didn't have it you would have the same BS that is going on now throughout astoria---out of scale development in attatched houses,existing 1-2 family sized lots turned into 6 or more units etc etc. be grateful they got together to keep the neighborhood contained and small-
when will we ever get proper bus /train service ? schools NOT running on a triple session ? clean streets etc ?
astoria is overcrowded and filthy now thanks to greed and speculation.

and no,we didn't sit on our butTs and do nothing .we could only get 13 signatures on a petition--to stop any further permits issued until our "needs" were met...sanitation,police,schools etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm proposing Melinda Katz
as the "fair maiden to be won".
Since Hevesi is out of her picture,
she's in serious need of canoodling these days.

Any handsome young knight would be glad to
demonstrate his skills with the lance......
private lessons.....I hope!

Anonymous said...

Too bad.....
and we were hoping for the "fair hand"
of Susan Meiklejohn to be offered as the prize
in the joust.

We haven't heard the last of her bogus interlopers.

Some more flawed
"academic" studies bearing the seal of Hunter College
damning landmarking.....perhaps ?

Anonymous said...

did a google image search of Susan and Melinda. Think I'll pass on the joust.

Anonymous said...

Susan probably moonlights......
writing PR for developers
(and passing them off as "studies") .

Aren't these the same guys
that contribute $$$$$$ to Hunter College?

Anonymous said...

Susan should place an ad on Craig's List:

Skilled at writing promotional material for developers.
"academic studies" specialty.
Take a look at the paper that I did for Dutch Kills .

Anonymous said...

the article sites LPC approved a rooftop addition. Anyone know where that is?

Anonymous said...

I guess when people in Queens talk to each other, and no politician is nearby to submit a script for them to follow, it makes the machine (and their press) a bit unsettled.

God knows what can come from it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree, something that common sense can work out is being stoked by the machine.

We cannot make up out minds unless a politicians, like our great father, can work things out for us.

Susan Meiklejohn said...

It seems a bit silly to respond to anonymous people who basically libel me, but I think perhaps some readers might want to read the actual report my students and I did. It can be seen at:


Again -- the report was written to:

1. Acknowledge and address the needs of all of Sunnyside's residents --- especially newcomers -- through coalition-building and incremental projects, and to provide recommendations to better involve newcomers in the decision-making process in Sunnyside

2. Find ways to discourage inappropriate development, while addressing such issues as pressing affordable housing needs in Sunnyside

3. Create a mechanism for a fully-informed and democratic process to determine protective mechanisms for Sunnyside Gardens (now a lost opportunity) -- with an emphasis on protecting the open spaces (they are much better protected under special district zoning than what could be under landmarking.

But read for yourself!!!

Anonymous said...

I've lived here for decades. when a child, if you even look at the hallowed ground( grass) there was a pleathora of hand clapping and hidden voices, " Off the Grass!!!!" there were once vague rumors of scant photographs from the early '30's displaying see-saws and play areas in the holy grounds of the courts. All I remembered were somewhat manicured lawns with an occasional Tea garden. Along came the '70, break-ins though the backyards mostly, robbed pocketbooks off kitchen tables; but the peeping tom was the last draw, up went the fences. the only alternative offered was to pay extra money to run a private community security service. So it goes, people are generally nice and good natured with the sporadic clique. But there is always the "court-issue" passed through the generations. It was thought that these may have been flushed out of the neighborhood with the entrance of the Clintons, all the 'connected' traveled 250 miles south and were hardly seen again. Probably still around though in some sort or another. The newest group, like most of this generation; meticulous, thougough; totally convinced there were no alternative views to the universe outside of theirs, moved stealthy through the City paperwork jungle and declared victory with landmark preservation. A curious 'in between' designation that allows no major benifit to owners, outside of a choking system of outdated and unresearched rules, reducing the buyers pool (and bidding for property) to those who want to live in Sunnyside, as opposed to those who just wanted to live in a neighborhood like Sunnyside. Believe me the difference between the two population numbers of the groups are phenomonally large. there are those who believe that land marking actually saved the old neighborhood from demolition. New developements that have since morphed into the 50,000 unit monstrosity in the old Rabbits Island area. A million years ago there was one of the few public outcry against a car parts factory/sales unit on rabbits Island, protests and whatever stopped it; but some 35 years later it reappeared and was constructed, largely due to the neighborhoods newly imported and socially diverse population that didn't take notice (or care?). What a shame now the new group are propping up that failing giant and it a constant reminder of where our actual tax dollars are going. Along comes the credit crisis and socialized solutions, the local market stalls so the City raises the real estate tax rate to compensate for already spent/wasted money. A trick learned from Con Ed making gags of money for generations, fuel get expensive, they tell Johnny be good to conserve, Johnny does, profits drop and the State endorses utility rate hikes to keep the pension investments afloat. None of the money from the good times were used to make improvements, the new group now says we have for pay to fix an "old and outdated power grid system" , mmmmmmmm where did the cash from the "48 cent a gallon of gas" days go? The same stealthy population are installing a LIRR bypass at street level in the neighborhood to bring the 60+ mile long Island bunch (suckers) into the heart of Manhattan rather than spend stupid amounts of money and time on the Long Island express parking lot.The future is commin into view, private schools closing, make believe private (charter)schools opening. The reverse strategy of the old Reform school system; But everyone seem ok with it. This promises a newer more educated (?) group on the horizon. Get a nice comfortable chair, unbrella (global warming) and a good spot to watch the show. By the way Mars is experiencing global warming also, too bad we can't muster up a few million dollars to analyse the data from the solar probe survey program just ended recently. Enjoy the show!!