2015-01-21 / Features

Sunnyside Chamber Holds First Meeting Of 2015


The first Sunnyside Chamber meeting of 2015 was well-attended and occurred January 14, following a year that marked a great change in the chamber’s way of life.  As 2014 began, the monthly meetings were held as usual on the second Tuesday at the same restaurant where they’d been held for years.  A year later, the first meeting was held as usual on the second Wednesday, at a restaurant-of-the-month, Bliss Street Station Pub & Restaurant, the sixth since the previous May.  It was probably fitting that the guest speaker himself represented a great change, since he was the new leader of the community board, the first in nearly a quarter-century.  

The speaker, Patrick O’Brien, the new chairman of Community Board 2, has been a board member for 14 years.  He is an attorney and a lifelong resident of Sunnyside, is the third generation owner of the house he lives in and has ancestors that settled in the area before the Civil War.  He honored his immediate predecessor as CB 2 chairman by declaring, “I’m no Joe Conley.”  Nonetheless, he said he’s willing to preside over the 48 current members of the board (the membership limit decreed by the city is 50).  The community board’s district includes all or part of Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Maspeth.  The district has taken some setbacks since the first days of the recession in 2008-09 but seems largely righted now, O’Brien said.  His work motto is simply, “Let’s find out what needs to be done,” which is a call to cooperative effort.

He said that quality of life issues are his specialty.  He has sought to improve and protect local life in his time as head of the board’s city services committee.  Got an issue? he asked his Bliss Street Station audience.  Your first resort is 311, and after you’ve made the call, come to the board.  He got responses from a few who may or may not have tried 311but sought his attention since he was available.  Mark Wolinski of the Sunnyside-Astoria Boys & Girls Club wanted to have something done in memory of two deceased local Vietnam War veterans.  Diana Voicu-Marinescu, an attorney with an office on 48th Avenue, said there are no sanitation receptacles on the avenue.  Marie Konercko, a board member, said that might be because too many residents have been dumping household refuse in them and they have been taken away.  Christian Amez, a Woodside resident and new business manager for the online Sunnyside Post, said aid and assistance to immigrants should be stressed at board meetings.  He was very much in favor of Mayor De Blasio’s proposed municipal identification cards, which have generated enthusiasm among many others too. 

Pat Dorfman, of sunnysidearts.com., said that the chamber’s emphasis on commercial businesses is the reason for its existence, but still she would like it to pursue such causes as a community center and affordable housing also.  Dorothy Morehead, an SCC board member, praised Dorfman for the way she has worked to keep the chamber on a steady course following the death in November of Luke Adams, who was long its integral force.  Morehead said there would be another auction of the many goods he collected, at a date to be announced.  Last February, there was a similar auction that helped Luke get through a tight financial situation.

There was one announcement of an event,  the collaboration of Sunnyside Community Services and School’s Out New York City (SCC SONYC) to produce a six-day-a-week program of after-school activities, beginning Saturday, March 1 at SCC’s home, 43-31 39th Street.  Activities, including homework help, digital photography, break dancing and yoga, will be held Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  For further information or registration, call Chaka Blackman, assistant executive director for youth and family services, at 718-784-6173 x 420, or email cblackman@scsny.org.    


Return to top

Copyright 1999-2019 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.