“This is my neighborhood. I want to know what’s going on. Everyone needs to know what’s going on.”
Each day Christian Murray takes his two Boston Terriers on a long walk through Sunnyside. He carries a camera and a notebook to gather material for his website, the Sunnyside Post. Christian misses no community board or police precinct meeting. Whether residents complain about the size of their Christmas tree, Sunnyside hosts a Pumpkin Day or troublemaker Casa Romana incenses the community with a Wet-T-Shirt and Oil-Wrestling Party, Christian reports, follows up and often sets an example for local community leaders. (A couple of days after Christian reported on the planned event, Jimmy Van Bramer announced the event thwarted.)
“This is my neighborhood. This is where I live. I want to know what’s going on. Everyone needs to know what’s going on,” Christian says matter-of-factly as we sit down to talk. A financial reporter for Thompson Reuters by day and a blogger during late night and lunch break hours, the native New Zealander started the Sunnyside Post two years ago. He updates the blog at least ten times a week, with roughly half of all postings gleaned from local newspapers and the other half featuring original reporting.
“I sometimes spend two or three hours a day [on the blog],” he says. “My wife thinks I am crazy.” But his website provides him pleasure, and the human interest issues offer a good balance to his “dry and abstract” nine-to-five job.
A few months ago the Sunnyside Post began posting ads from local businesses and institutions, including Camp Bow Wow, the Sunnyside Reformed Church and Santa Fe Steak House, and most recently it was revamped to better reflect Christian’s main focus, “Keeping the vitality of our main streets going.” The Sunnyside Post now also collects suggestions on how to improve business on Queens Boulevard.
In the podcast, Christian talks about a large fire on 42nd Street that other news outlets failed to report and about his blogging obsession.