Brooklyn Paper Radio helps raise $20K to save Sunny’s Bar

She’s gonna make it after all!

Sunny’s Bar owner Tone Balzano says she raised $20,000 in just one week after appearing on Brooklyn Paper Radio to promote her latest efforts to save the 100-year-old bar from being sold, torn down, and tossed onto the scrapheap of gentrification.

Daily News columnist — and Brooklyn Paper Radio co-host — Gersh Kuntzman followed with his own story that also aided the fund-raising effort.

“You guys really put out the Bat-signal for Sunny’s,” Balzano told Kuntzman and Brooklyn Paper Editor Vince DiMiceli. “I’ve been getting checks in the mail and some are like $1,000 and some are $10. It’s so touching.”

The radio show and subsequent Kuntzman Kolumn reported that Balzano needed to raise just $65,000 of the $2.6 million she needs to buy out relatives of her late husband, Sunny Balzano and own outright the building housing the waterfront bar. Balzano has until July 31 to raise the money — and now only needs $35,000.

Kuntzman said he was confident she would make it, though he reminded listeners that he was equally confident that Hillary Clinton would win on Nov. 8 and that British voters would reject leaving the European Union.

“No, we’re going to make it,” Balzano said. “New York is getting so used to getting burned, that we just accept it. This is not that story. I am not going to let that happen.”

The money, she said, is trickling in because “Sunny’s tickles the human spirit in that special way,” prompting DiMiceli to proclaim that he loves having his human spirit tickled in that special way.

Kuntzman concurred. And then the host revealed that he gave $100 to the “Save Sunny’s” fund at

“And former Brooklyn Paper reporter Stephen Rex Brown gave $50,” Kuntzman added.

The Brooklyn Paper is still offering a front-page story to anyone who donates the final $30,000. The next fund-raiser is an art sale on May 1 at the Conover Street bar.

“It’s about time those artists get off their asses and help Sunny’s,” Kuntzman said.

In other news, Kuntzman updated listeners on the results of the small claims court case brought against him in his guise as producer of the off-off-off-Broadway hit, “Murder at the Food Coop,” by the show’s set designer, Mitchell Ost. Kuntzman and Ost finally had their day in court late last month — and the written ruling was finally handed down last week. Naturally, Kuntzman claimed victory.

“Ost was seeking close to $600, so I counter-sued for the $360 that I claimed represented the cost of work I had to do to make up for his failure to perform the work,” Kuntzman said. “I had begged Ost to go on ‘Hot Bench’ with me, that TV court show that would have flown us out to LA, paid us an appearance fee, and paid him his claim, but he didn’t want to. So the judge ended up giving Ost $170 and giving me $80 or so — so I ended up paying him a small amount. That’s a win.”

“That’s not a win,” DiMiceli said. “You paid him. This is a loss.”

“Yes, but he got far less than he sought. And he could have gotten every penny if he had just gone on ‘Hot Bench,’” Kuntzman said. “So, naturally, the memo line in the check I sent over was ‘I wish you’d gone on “Hot Bench,” ’ ” Kuntzman said.

“Loser!” DiMiceli said. “Loo-sah!”

“No,” Kuntzman said, “the message here is, ‘Go on “Hot Bench”!’ It’s a legitimate court show with a bench of three judges and the bailiff Sonia Montejano is a complete professional!

Also on the show, reporter Colin Mixson gave listeners an update on plans to build tall, light-blocking towers near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and reporter Lauren Gill discussed Mayor DeBlasio’s proposed BQX trolley line, which no longer looks like it’s happening.

Tone Balzano-Johansen
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Sunny’s Bar, 253 Conover St. between Beard and Reed streets in Red Hook, (718) 625–8211. Art sale fund-raiser, May 1. All info at

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