Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Scared in Sunnyside

"Thought you would be perfect to write to about my issue.

I’ve been a resident of Sunnyside, Queens for two years, my best friend 11 years and another close friend 5 years.

It used to be a very desirable neighborhood and I was actually thinking of buying property in or around Sunnyside Gardens.

But I’ve been bit concerned lately. There have been hoards and I mean hoards of homeless people, derelicts, and the like that have been all and around the neighborhood harassing people. We never, ever had this type of environment.

It has been hard-working people, families and the like all trying to make this a better neighborhood and have been successful until lately.

The situation has escalated only within the last month and a half!!!!!!!

Now I’m a tough gal and can handle myself against the occasional shirtless vagrant shouting obscenities as I walk past, but I had an incident That was a little more frightening. I was walking home one evening, it was dark and felt someone behind me. I started to walk faster and managed to get into my building but this creep followed me into foyer of the building, he didn’t make it in but he pleasured himself on the main door and tried to come after me.

I managed to get away, I called the cops (which showed up 45 minutes later) because he was trying to get in. The cops basically paid no attention to me, but this is a serious matter.

But is there any information you can give about why this has happened to our neighborhood in such a short amount of time???

Did they open a half-way house in the area, homeless shelter, something??? I’ve never seen a good community turn into trash almost overnight!!!

Other people have mentioned the same to me and we’re ready to take back our neighborhood but don’t know what or why this is happening!!!

I managed to thwart the efforts of my near attacker, but someone else might not be so lucky!!!

If the neighborhood becomes unsafe, I have no intention of living here, let alone buying here. Any information is greatly appreciated!!!!!"


Well, I can't say much about the situation other than it looks like we are headed for a major crime wave because the Post reported this over the weekend:

CRIME SURGE HITS WEALTHY APPLE NABES. So if it's happening on Sutton Place, it sure must be happening in Sunnyside, too.


Anonymous said...

I've noticed the same, let's say, new people in the area along Queens Blvd.

hoover factory said...

What anonymous said. I too have observed an upswing in the presence of these itinerant gents in the neighborhood, but mainly in the region of the 7 train aqueduct -- haven't seen them straying too far into the residential areas on either side, and in fact Scared's tale is the first I've heard of a more aggressive turn of behavior. It may be leafy and green, but it's still the city, folks. Be aware, vigilant, and careful.

Anonymous said...

Well let's see if Mr. Gioia opens his mouth about this.

georgetheatheist said...

The Supreme Court says you can have a handgun (on premises). Demand the enforcement of this right from the NYC Police Department.

If you had shot that scabrous vermin, I would have sent you a $100 to support any legal case made against you.

Join the National Rifle Association (www.NRA.org).

Anonymous said...

Hey, no problem - the day laborers that have been hanging out learing at women on Broadway in the 40s must have expanded.

These are the people that the machine WANTS in your neighborhood:

1. they have lots of needs and chances at opening new programs (read spending your taxes on them and not you) for photo ops.

2. they chase out pesky middle class types like you that just make politicans look bad with complaints like this.

3. day laborers .... well, where do we start at how this is a very big plus for the boys in the clubhouse.

4. get Team Gioia's attention by saying their are homeless and HUNGRY.

5. get the press's attention and the mayor's CAU unit in action by saying they are blocking bike lanes.

[any others, folks?]

Anonymous said...

Are you from Darfur? If not, we don't care. But thank you for writing.

Anonymous said...

Team Gioia has a link to the Queens Ledge and a story about a ferry dock in Brooklyn on their home page. So I am sure they will take this seriously.

Queens Crapper said...

As someone who grew up in Queens, it's important to me that my neighbors feel proud walking around a clean, safe neighborhood.

Protecting residential communities.

- He has teamed up with community groups and local police precincts to keep trucks off residential streets.
- He has rebuilt sidewalks and curbs to keep streets safe for children and seniors.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a PBA directed work slowdown in the Police ranks.

Are there contract negotiations comming up? Pat Lynch has done this before.

Steven said...

Georgetheatheist: the NYPD has an "arrest now, ask later" policy that they've enforced. A gun can only be kept in the household and/or on a range, and a license is needed, and needs to be renewed every year. Only a limited number are issued each year.
Also, shooting anyone, whether the shot is lethal or not, can land you time in jail in NY.
In fact, protecting yourself in ANY way besides using your body is illegal in NY. From pepperspray to batons, it's all illegal.

As for the wave of homeless people, it's here in the Forest Hills area too.

georgetheatheist said...

Because of the recent Supreme Court decision on the RIGHT of all American citizens (not just the "limited" citizenry) to own an on-premises HANDGUN, currently there is litigation going on in Brooklyn (according to DA Hynes) that is presenting a challenge to the strict NYC possession laws.

Stay tuned.

Steven said...

I know better than to get happy that something would happen to change the gun laws in NY. Hillary Clinton is an avid anti-gun politician, and all of her supporters (both politicians and normal citizens) will rally against this like there's no tomorrow. They'll claim that putting guns in the hands of citizens is the worst thing that could happen to NY, not realizing that in a state like Virginia where almost everyone owns AND carries a handgun, the crime rate is considerably lower.
Gun-control will always be a part of NY, no matter how much you'd like to think otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton


Hillary Clinton .... Hillary Clinton .... where did I last see her ?

A good candidate for one of those 'Where are they now' segments.

What did happen to her after she left the White House?

She has pretty much disappeared here in New York .... for years.

Anonymous said...

Any profile - race - age - etc?

They have to be living somewhere.

Those Metropolitan Apartments in the 50s looks a bit sketchy.

Anonymous said...

This past Saturday, I stopped into the White Castle in Sunnyside, parked in the lot, and started eating my White Castles and Fish Nibblers.

This homeless piece of shit practically sticks his head in my window asking for food.

He stunk so badly, I immediately lost my appetite.

I ended up giving him my food. It was so disgusting.

georgetheatheist said...

That wasn't a "homeless piece of shit". It was Councilman Eric Gioia. (Just a regular piece of shit.) He holds his fundraisers there wearing kingly robes at the Sunnyside White Castle . 'strue.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Burger King was having a kids birthday party...

Queens Crapper said...

A little birdie just e-mailed me to tell me that the city is closing all the homeless intake centers in Manhattan and moving them to the outer boroughs. Sunnyside must be on the list of lucky winner neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

From the Times Newsweekly, 2006:

"Community Board 2 unanimously passed a resolution opposing the fiscal year 2007 and 2008 Citywide Statement of Needs for the proposed placement of city facilities within Board 2, with the exception of schools and hospitals.
The city proposal listed a number of facilities projects it planned to locate somewhere in Queens, possibly within Board 2. The proposed facilities include a new drop-in and adult intake center for homeless individuals and families in each borough..."

Anonymous said...

I live right near the White Castle, and haven't noticed anything other than the usual homeless guys I see in that area.

Plus it's summer, not unusual to see a few more people who are unable to be housed.

Anonymous said...

So true about His Royal Asshole, Doorman Eric Gioia.


Hopefully the Queen of Diamonds Marshall will kick in John McCain's "Programming" and the Manchurian Candidate for President will outright sell America to the Commie Chinese

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Sunnyside and yes, it seems like the place is not as homely as it once was. Although there have always been homeless people in certain areas, Mexican day laborers have been congregating at all odd hours. I've seen them drinking and lying around on my way to work, leering at women and urinating in the narrow alleys between buildings. They also hang out at the parks on 42nd and Skillman Ave.

You can always call the local precinct and have them check out a situation. If you see these types loitering or harassing people, they should be able to do something if the timing is right.

Anonymous said...

Found this link through Gothamist. There is a problem here -- and that is that the writer really needs to improve her vocabulary. As I posted at the other blog, the word hoard has been used incorrectly here. Hoard means a hidden store of something valuable or a carefully guarded supply or stockpile being saved for the future or a special circumstance. So, while there may be a visible increase in the number of homeless in your neighborhood, there are not hoards of them -- unless someone's stashing them somewhere for a rainy day.

Queens Crapper said...

So the correct word is "hordes". Give the girl a break - she's been traumatized.

Anonymous said...

Thank the gentrification of the boroughs - Williamsburg, Greenpoint, LIC - pushing rents up and bums out. Don't worry though, soon enough they will move to my nabe - Woodside. Now the Irish hooligans will have someone other than eachother to beat up.

Anonymous said...

The reason you've seen an upswing in the number of homeless in the past month and a half?? It's SUMMER!

Anonymous said...

Still plenty of homeless people in Greenpoint dude.

Queens Crapper said...

Nice snarky comment except she and her friends have lived through a few summers in Sunnyside.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Sunnyside almost 7 years, my girlfriend has been here 11, and it is consistently my favorite neighborhood in the city. It sucks to be harassed but I don't notice any drastic changes in the area myself. I'm always happy to be home here after a night out in Brooklyn, or even most places in manhattan.

Anonymous said...

We have been here for nearly 8 years, and I see a huge increase this summer-- far more drunks, certainly, and I think more homeless folks as well. What I find fascinating in these comments is that no one has mentioned that little thing called the economy. We have always had day laborers-- I think the difference is that now there isn't labor for them, hence the congregating at "odd hours" etc; I would also suspect that the lack of work for so many and the higher cost of living is contributing to the drinking; recessions and alcoholism have long gone hand in glove.
None of this solves the problem, of course, but may be part of the explanation. As for what we can do, I would love to hear some practical suggestions, rather than NRA propaganda or vitriole at our local politicians.

Anonymous said...

Community Clean Up, Jobs Rehab Program Gets $564 G Fed Grant

Western Queens Gazette
April 16th

"The Doe Fund, which employs formerly homeless persons and parolees to clean up more than 160 miles of New York City streets every day, has received another $564,000 federal grant, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney announced last week."


Anonymous said...

Wow! Half of you are racist, ignorant, conservative idiots. I'm sorry for what happened to the woman, but I've live in Sunnyside for over a decade now and haven't seen this "upswing". The neighborhood is pretty safe as far as I'm concerned. It's summer. The economy stinks. You live in NYC. My biggest concern about the neighborhood is all the new comers from out of town or Manhattan who are moving here and seem to forget that they live in NYC and are making all the rents go up. Get a grip. You live in NYC.

Anonymous said...

A similar thing happened to me last summer .. (Sunnyside Gardens). Once I was "safe" and inside my home, I called 911. (I am a tough cookie – and was startled more than anything, and upset that my false sense of security had disappeared). Anyway, I didn’t want another unsuspecting person to hold a similar experience. 35 minutes had passed since I had first called 911. So I called the cops again; they never showed. Went down to the precinct the following evening and (long story short) was bullied (by the C.O.) out of the station and told that they wouldn't take a police report – that I’d let too many hours pass since the incident, and because I was “only grabbed”, and not actually attacked by this person I had never seen before – they couldn’t do anything if I ever happened to encounter this guy again. Granted, it’d be like looking for a needle in a haystack to find this guy - but I wanted to know that if I did happen to run into him on the street, that this guy would pay for what he’d done. I wanted it on record that this actually happened. Ultimately, I called 911 again - explained what happened at the precinct – and two very helpful officers arrived at my door within minutes, took the report and proceeded to escort me back to the precinct to take a look at mug shots. I never ran into the guy again, and the person who took the third 911 call along with those two officers that came to my house restored my faith in the police force a bit. But one thing I have learned through the ordeal – file police reports – it’s the only way to up the presence in the neighbourhood.

Crime stats for the 108th precinct can be found here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/crime_statistics/cs108pct.pdf

jen said...

in a state like Virginia where almost everyone owns AND carries a handgun, the crime rate is considerably lower


Queens Crapper said...

Check the stats here:

State Crime Stats

Queens Crapper said...

"Get a grip. You live in NYC."

This is not an acceptable answer, considering we enjoyed many years of feeling safe in our neighborhoods. Something has gone wrong, so let's fix it. How about reversing the sanctuary city policy and increasing our police force by offering them a living wage.

Anonymous said...

If the extent of your contact with the neighborhood is the two-block sprint from your apartment building to the 7 train platform, it's no wonder you're not seeing what others have so clearly noticed.

Summer? Just wait until Nov or Dec when there are more junkies and homeless than ever wandering up and down Queens Blvd, and then tell us to get a grip.

jen said...

thanks for the stats link. still not sure about the "EVERYONE in virginia owning and carrying a gun" part or if gun ownership actually has a direct link to the amount of crime committed. there are so many other things to consider... i mean, look at canada.

Steven said...

To the anonymous person who called half of us racist, ignorant, conservatives: look in a place like Virginia (yes, Virginia) where people have guns. Except for the VT Massacre, which I'll go into in a second, yes, crime rates are MUCH lower.

Look here:
Crime Rates by State in the Unites States - Table - MSN Encarta.

Compare NYC, a state with only a few gun carriers, to a place like Virginia or Michigan, where ALMOST EVERY citizen over the age of 18 carries a gun. Do you see the dramatic difference? 19 million+ crimes in NY compared to almost 7.5 million in Virgina and 10 million in Michigan. If that's not proof enough, I don't know what is.

Don't believe me about people carrying guns there? Go to those states. Everyone has a holster on their body and is a respectable citizen.

As for Virginia Tech, Cho knew that his victims were powerless because the school had a "no gun on campus" policy. He snuck in the gun knowing FULL WELL that no one would be able to defend themselves.

NYC is teaching us to be wimps and not defend ourselves. If you think you're "safe" in NY, you're sadly mistaken. Go to a state, like I said, with a high amount of legal gun owners, and you'll really feel protected. Just visit for a week and then come back and you'll realize how much safer you are there than here.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"The neighborhood is pretty safe as far as I'm concerned. It's summer. The economy stinks. You live in NYC. My biggest concern about the neighborhood is all the new comers from out of town or Manhattan who are moving here and seem to forget that they live in NYC and are making all the rents go up. Get a grip. You live in NYC."

This woman was followed home and narrowly escaped being attacked and all you can say is get a grip?
This is a safety issue as well as a broader quality of life issue. Women deserve better than this. If you are not outraged by this conduct and accept it through your indifference, then you deserve everything you get.

Steven said...

To correct something that I typed: I meant to compare the crime rates for NY with a 19 million+ population to that of Virginia with a 7.5 million population or Michigan, with a 10 million+ population. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I actually used the population as the amount of crime. Either way, the proof is in the numbers.

...I haven't slept in two days, so if you'll be so kind as to excuse me...

Anonymous said...

still not sure about the "EVERYONE in virginia owning and carrying a gun" part or if gun ownership actually has a direct link to the amount of crime committed. there are so many other things to consider... i mean, look at canada.

Yes, indeed, let's look at Canada, and Michael Moore's reluctance to ponder that question further:

Metropolitan Liberals support gun control for a hard-headed reason: to disarm the dangerous urban minorities who threaten them. But liberals hardly want to admit that, even to themselves, so they flocked to Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine,” a minstrel show about scary white rural gun nuts and the evil corporations that profit off them.

In “Columbine,” Moore did ask one interesting question: how come Canada has many guns but few murders? Moore stared into the abyss of political incorrectness at the obvious answer—Canada is only 3 percent black and Hispanic—and blinked. It’s so much safer blaming tacky K-Mart for selling bullets.


Anonymous said...

I wish people could stay on topic... I have only been in Sunnyside for about 6 months, but I am born and raised in Queens. The surge of homeless here has been unbelievable. Not the ask for change, hold a sign, homeless either. These people are becoming increasingly aggressive and violent. Every single night I walk people passed out on the sidewalk- an not on the boulevard either. The Gardens are a safehaven for this stuff and I have even seen them in peoples courtyards.

I get sick thinking of my g/f walking 3-4 block to our house alone.

Something needs to be done.

Turk182 said...


Comparing the total number of crimes among NY, MI and VA also makes no sense. NY is a much larger state than MI or VA. Using your logic, NY is a colder state than Alaska because people in NY own more heavy coats.

If you look at the crime rate measured per capita, which the data you provided does, it actually shows that NY has a lower violent crime rate than MI, but not VA. NY has a lower property crime rate, murder rate, rape per capita, and several other crime indicators than both MI and VA.

Steven said...

To the Anonymous before p, yes, something needs to be done. These homeless are probably so aggressive because of their drinking and/or drug use.

P, I'm referring moreso to crimes that can most likely be prevented with someone being armed, therefore referring to violent crimes, which would fall in the first category.
While I see your point, I still feel a lot safer in Virginia and Michigan than in NY.

Anonymous said...

Still disagree with the argument that guns make communities safer. this study by Harvard researchers show otherwise.

Rates of Household Firearm Ownership and Homicide Across US Regions and States, 1988–1997
Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD, Deborah Azrael, MS, PhD, and David Hemenway, PhD
Matthew Miller, Deborah Azrael, and David Hemenway are all from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail: mmiller@hsph.harvard.edu).
Accepted February 18, 2002.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
References AbstractObjectives. In this study we explored the association between rates of household firearm ownership and homicide across the United States, by age groups.
Methods. We used cross-sectional time-series data (1988–1997) to estimate the association between rates of household firearm ownership and homicide.

Results. In region- and state-level analyses, a robust association between rates of household firearm ownership and homicide was found. Regionally, the association exists for victims aged 5 to 14 years and those 35 years and older. At the state level, the association exists for every age group over age 5, even after controlling for poverty, urbanization, unemployment, alcohol consumption, and nonlethal violent crime.

Conclusions. Although our study cannot determine causation, we found that in areas where household firearm ownership rates were higher, a disproportionately large number of people died from homicide.

Anonymous said...

Where are the stats on prevention of crime due to gun ownership?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where you people are in Sunnyside, but I cover a lot of ground in this neighborhood (I rent a garage 1/2 mile away from my apartment), and I walk and ride my bike around at ALL hours. Honestly, there have always been some homeless/drunk types that I see, but I just don't see this upswing.

I grew up in Baltimore city, so NY in general seems pretty safe, but most places on this planet are better with some common sense. I don't think holding VA's wild west gun laws up as something to aspire to will make anyone safer. If you truly think that, by all means move, we could do without the whining and you would probably be happier in the suburbs.

Steven said...

Harvard tends to lean their "studies" to one side of the political spectrum, as does Columbia.
An independent study would be nice.

To whomever suggested that NY could do without my whining: I'm just one voice. There are many who agree with me, who are trying to change NY's gun laws as we speak. When they're changed, I'll feel secure living here. I love NY, don't get me wrong. The city will forever be my home. However, when my borough becomes infiltrated with mafias, gangs, and abusive homeless people, I don't doubt that leaving NY for a little while would do me any harm.

Anonymous said...

If you/everyone else was carrying a handgun it would make me feel profoundly less safe. I really don't think that is the answer to this, but I don't think debating on here is likely to change either of our minds.

American cities have always been filled with gansters, and confrontations with homeless people in my experience are avoidable.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Sunnyside for about 3 years now, and I have noticed a couple different sets of homeless over the years. The largest group are the day laborers, whom typically hang out in the parks off of 42nd (either at skillman or over by greenpoint) and drink their bag beers, etc. They can be a little intimidating because of the sheer number of them I suppose, but they are all too drunk to walk half the time, so I don't see them as a threat per say. Not great, but not a huge threat.

I am almost 100% sure I know which of the local vagrants is being talked about in the email above. He has been around for a year and change I'd say, but within the last couple months seems to be getting more aggressive. He has come up to the window at the Courtyard Bar and harassed customers on more than one occasion, plus I've seen him standing and shouting obscenities at people (myself included) when walking by. I don't know that it's a huge upswing in the overall population, but within such as small neighborhood, it doesn't take much for the perceived level of safety to change. I don't doubt that he could be a bit of a threat, so it's always best to be on the lookout, but I also don't know how downhill the neighborhood is going either.

Anonymous said...

You're all a bunch of whiners. Move to Vermont.

Anonymous said...

"...in a state like Virginia where almost everyone owns AND carries a handgun, the crime rate is considerably lower."

Per person?

And do you really think everyone in Richmond walks around with a gun in their pocket? More than NYC of course, but a majority? I was in Roanoke recently and have to say, that's an incredible stretch.

Anonymous said...

Let's put it this way:

If you think the person you see on the street might turn around and shoot you if you menace them, would you still do it? If you think there might be a person inside the house with a gun he's willing to use, would you still break in?

Unknown said...

I've lived in Sunnyside for 21 years. It has changed a lot, and not for the better. I moved to Sunnyside as a teen and I am looking forward to leaving it behind next spring. I have 12 years of self defense experience and I can take care of myself when even confronted with someone twice my size. Been there, does not mean I wanna be there again. Used to love this neighborhood. Now it's becoming expensive and not maintained. Most of those that move into the area leave a lot to be desired, and they bring their element with them, in the form of fiends or relatives. It's a sad reality.

Anonymous said...

As Mario Biaggi
(anyone remember him?) once said,
"Better a defendant than a deceased"!

Shoot first... worry about hiring a lawyer later!

Anonymous said...

Carry a cane.

It's not illegal.
(After all, everybody's got a "weak leg"....heh, heh, heh)!

You'd be surprised (with little skill) what you can do with this potentially deadly weapon!

I've already used one on a dangerous perp with remarkable effect.

No lawsuit or jail followed either.

Anonymous said...

Petition Dr. Kroessler and his stout Landmarked Sunnyside Gardens lads for some help!

Anonymous said...

This is a great problem with crime in multi family dwelling nabes.
Your hands are often tied.

In my own private home I can just let my brace of dogs out to bite
anyone's nuts off who threatens me or mine!

My homeowners' insurance and personal liability policy covers any ensuing damages.

Anonymous said...

You're all a bunch of whiners. Move to Vermont.

and leave the hollowed out neighborhood to the machine.

Anonymous said...

Having lived in Sunnyside for 8 years, I can tell you I've heard anecdotal evidence of crimes from day 1. From apartment break-ins to purse-snatching to drunken assaults, it's nothing new. I've called the police after noting suspicious behavior and received no response.
If you've had your eyes open, you've seen homeless people in our midst. Didn't Gioia himself hire the Doe Fund folks to clean the streets? It's nothing new.
What to do about it? Somehow the attitudes on this site seem to be to get a handgun, send everybody back to 'mexico' or arrest them.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I'm more scared of the folks that come out of OTB and loud drunks out of the bars late at night.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to share with everyone my experience this weekend. On Sunday night my husband and I discovered that our car had been broken into. The thugs took everything including my husband's expensive golf clubs. The cops told us that another 2 cars were also broken into. Later I found out that my neighbor's car was also robbed. I mean, the cars were all parked right in front of our building and no one saw a thing? Unfortunately, we live on 39th place by the school PS 199 that seems to bring a negative element to our neighborhood since everyone hangs out at all hours of the night in this school yard. Yet the school refuses to close up the school yard at night.

Anonymous said...

any updates on SS crime and/or prevention?

Anonymous said...

I've lived in the neighborhood for over a decade. There has been an uptick in crime but perhaps not as bad as the 70s. So I hear. I am a women who also had someone follow them home. I stopped when I got near other people on the street, stayed with them and threatened to call 911. He backed off. I wonder if he would have become aggressive if neighbors weren't walking home. First time in 12 years.

Don't expect anything from the cops, you have to be chase or citi bank to deserve their respect and protection. In their minds women should walk around in sheets if they don't want to be raped. I'm for sensible gun control, people should be screened. I can think of a lot of women I think would be ideal and responsible gun owners.