You are reading

Landlord of Shuttered Sunnyside Cinema Gets a Tough Message

The marquee sign at a shuttered Sunnyside movie theater was altered over the weekend (Queens Post)

Jan. 31, 2021 By Christian Murray (Updated)

The marquee sign at a shuttered Sunnyside movie theater was altered over the weekend with the perpetrator taking aim at the landlord.

“Death by Speculation, Starring Limpdick Landlord,” the sign reads, which appears to have gone up in the past 24 hours.

The vacant cinema, located at 42-17 Queens Blvd., closed in January 2015 after its operator Rudy Prashad was unable to renew the lease.

The landlord, John Ciafone, who bought the property off Dime Savings Bank at the end of 2012, decided that he wanted to develop the property.

Ciafone, who still owns the building, was subject to heavy criticism at the time since a theater had been located at the Queens Boulevard site for more than 40 years.

Prashad, who had operated the theater for nine years and fought to keep the theater open, broke into laughter Sunday when he saw a photo of the altered signage.

“I love it. I’m saving it to my phone and using it as a screensaver,” Prashad said.

“I want to shake his hand,” he said of the perpetrator. “I want to take him out to dinner.”

But Ciafone did not find it amusing and found the episode to be “mind-boggling.”

“I think it was inappropriate and insensitive,” Ciafone said, who added that he has video of the perpetrators and has reported it to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

“I take this seriously and I am going to prosecute. I view it as a threat and don’t understand who would be sick enough to do this.”

The closure of Prashad’s theater was controversial. Residents put together a petition and held a rally outside the theater in support.

Ciafone offered a six month lease extension but Prashad rejected it arguing he needed a long-term commitment.

The property was also occupied by PJ Horgan’s Pub and a local dentist at the time of purchase. The operators of both were informed their lease would not be renewed and have shut since.

Ciafone announced plans at the time to build a 5 to 7 story building with about 60-70 apartments—with about 20 percent of those units being affordable.

But approximately six years after he announced his plans, the storefronts remain vacant and the property is undeveloped. The site, which also includes the shuttered Dime branch, is used for filming movies.

Ciafone was perplexed as to why he was being targeted at this time. He said that he still plans on developing the site and intends to improve the community.

Prashad, who operates a theater in Kew Gardens and four on Long Island, said he would come back to Sunnyside if given the opportunity.

“I’m so sad that it closed. It was a loss to the community.”

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.


The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Armed robber hits 7-Eleven stores in three Queens neighborhoods in just over an hour Wednesday morning: NYPD

Police from two Queens NYPD precincts are looking for an armed robber who targeted 7-Eleven stores in three different neighborhoods in just over an hour during the early morning of Wednesday, Apr. 17.

Police from the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park reported that the first heist went down just before 2:25 a.m. at the 7-Eleven located at 112-11 Liberty Ave. in South Richmond Hill. The perpetrator allegedly pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the 23-year-old man behind the counter, who complied, handing over $400 in cash from the register, police said.

Jamaica Estates man beaten, robbed by bat-wielding thugs near Cunningham Park: NYPD

A 22-year-old Jamaica Estates man was beaten and robbed in broad daylight three blocks west of Cunningham Park on Saturday, and police from the 107th Precinct in Fresh Meadows are looking for the suspects who attacked him with a baseball bat.

The incident occurred just after 7 p.m., as the victim was walking home in the vicinity of 189th Street and Aberdeen Avenue when he was set upon by the two assailants who struck him in the face and head with the baseball bat, police said. They forcibly removed his cell phone and fled in a black Pontiac Grand Am, heading northbound on 109th Street toward Union Turnpike.

Dozens of restaurant and small business owners urge Sen. Ramos to support the $8B Metropolitan Park proposal at Citi Field

Around fifty restaurant and small business owners from Corona, Jackson Heights, and East Elmhurst signed a letter asking state Senator Jessica Ramos to support the $8 billion Metropolitan Park proposal from New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International to build a casino and entertainment complex on the parking lot adjacent to Citi Field.

Jessica Rico, the owner of Mojitos Restaurant & Bar in Jackson Heights, hand-delivered the letter to a Ramos staffer while the Senator was in Albany on April 19.

Spring refresh: 10 unique home stores to check out in Western Queens

Apr. 18, 2024 By Amanda Salazar

Spring isn’t just a time for cleaning — it’s also a time of fresh starts and renewal. If you’ve been considering redesigning your home, now is the perfect time to renew your space. Whether it’s as big as a complete overhaul of your home’s interior design or as small as getting a new lamp, there’s a small business in western Queens that can help you breathe new life into your space. Here are 10 local home décor and furniture stores to check out this spring.