You are reading

Pro-Palestinian Signage Up at Center Cinemas in Sunnyside, Many Jewish Residents Cry Foul

Activists altered the marquee sign at Center Cinemas about two weeks ago with a message many find offensive. Property owner John Ciafone said it was done without his permission and he was recently alerted to it. He is taking it down.

June 7, 2021 By Christian Murray

Activists put up a controversial message on the marquee sign at the shuttered Sunnyside movie theater about two weeks ago—and the property owner is coming under fire from many Jewish residents.

John Ciafone, the owner of the vacant cinema at 42-17 Queens Blvd., has been bombarded with e-mails and phone calls in recent days from people protesting the “From the River to the Sea” message that is on the cinema marquee.

The message has been on the theater sign since thousands of people came to Sunnyside for a pro-Palestinian rally, residents say. Many chanted at the rally “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free.”

“Many people are very upset,” Ciafone said, who had no knowledge that the message was there until he was contacted recently. “Many people in the Jewish community have reached out to me. I have been receiving e-mails and phone calls about it.”

The message is a common rallying cry from members of the pro-Palestinian movement, although many pro-Israel supporters say it is a call for the destruction of the Jewish state and erasing its people. They say the message is commonly used by Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

“I knew nothing about this until people reached out to me,” Ciafone said. “These people did not have permission to do this. I hear it is very offensive.”

Ciafone said that he has called someone to come out and take the message down. He will be reviewing the video, he said, and apologized that it was up there.

This is not the first time Ciafone’s marquee sign has been targeted.

In January, Ciafone was the subject of the message.

Ciafone, who said he was very offended by the January message, has owned the property since 2012 and planned to develop it. His desire to develop the site led to the controversial closure of the cinema in 2015. The site remains undeveloped.

Ciafone was upset that his signage was targeted once again.

“This is the result of a gang of progressive, anti-development, radicals,” he said. “These are the people who also hate the police.”

The marquee sign at a shuttered Sunnyside movie theater (Queens Post)

email the author: [email protected]

One Comment

Click for Comments 
Property rights matter

This is private property
The message is abhorrent and the police need to make arrests

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

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

Recent News

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘Limitless possibility’: BP Richards announces community visioning workshops on redevelopment of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. and Empire State Development on Tuesday, Jan. 31, announced the launch of a series of community visioning workshops that will be held to hear input from eastern Queens residents about the redevelopment of the 50-acre Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village. 

The first community visioning workshop will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at P.S./I.S. 208 located at 74-30 Commonwealth Blvd. in Glen Oaks.

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.