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Hard Times in Sunnyside

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Two parking regulations are casting a shadow over small businesses on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside.

The regulations imposed by the city Department of Transportaion have had unexpected negative consequences. A no-standing rule on Queens Boulevard between 39th and 49th streets from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. makes stopping to buy a coffee or a bagel or to pick up dry cleaning risky business. The intention was to improve the flow of traffic during rush hour. But local stores and patrons are paying the price. There is no place for patrons to park.

The second problem is the 12-hour parking allowed under the No. 7 train tracks. This is great for commuters but not so great for people in the neighborhood looking to patronize local stores. For them there is usually no place to park.

Local officials say trucks making deliveries during the rush hour already defeat the purpose of the no-standing regulations. And under the tracks, they say, it should also be possible to create spaces on each block that can be reserved for one- or two-hour parking only.

The city wants to promote the use of mass transit and reduce rush-hour congestion. Elected officials want to support local businesses. We are confident they can work with DOT to reach a compromise.

Showdown at Sizzler

Liza Friedlander claims she was enjoying a buffet breakfast with some of her friends at the Forest Hills Sizzler when she was verbally accosted, knocked down and kicked by the restaurant’s manager. In a lawsuit filed in Queens Civil Court, she says manager Edgar Orellana accused her of not paying for the buffet and shouted anti-gay slurs at her.

The Sizzler owner says Friedlander’s beef is baloney. In his version, Friedlander got upset about something and then threw a plate at Orellana that nearly hit a child. The owner says the manager, an immigrant, has been working for the restaurant for 27 years without any incidents.

Friedlander is being represented by the gay-rights law firm Lambda Legal. There are those who believe this case will become a litmus test for anti-bias legislation that aims to hold people accountable in civil court.

But there is also the possibility that Sizzler is being exploited.

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