Tag Archives: Sunnyside Shines BID

Sunnyside launches borough’s first ‘Bike Friendly Business District’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's Office

The bicycle wheels are going round and round in Sunnyside.

On Saturday, the neighborhood became Queens’ first “Bike Friendly Business District.”

A Bike Friendly Business District is a system of businesses, cultural institutions, and community organizations dedicated to boosting safe bicycling, according to Transportation Alternatives.

The advocacy organization has established Bike Friendly Business Districts in the East Village, Lower East Side and along Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn.

“The launch of Sunnyside’s very own Bike Friendly Business District is an opportunity for our neighborhood to showcase its diversity as well as its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and cafes,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who helped launch the district with Transportation Alternatives, local business owners, cyclists and pedestrians. “Cyclists should come out to Sunnyside and shop at the over 70 participating businesses. As ridership climbs in our city, and the cycling infrastructure grows here in western Queens, Sunnyside hopes to capitalize by highlighting all we have to offer.”

Over 70 local businesses who support safer conditions for both cyclist and pedestrians will offer special commercial discount to members of Transportation Alternatives.

The business owners are looking to transform Queens Boulevard to include safe spaces for pedestrians, protected lanes for cyclists and dedicate lanes for buses.

“Designating Sunnyside as a Bike Friendly Business District means that we’re committed to making the neighborhood safe, accessible and fun for everyone,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District.

For a map of the Bike Friendly Business District and participating local businesses, click here.

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Sunnyside welcomes first of two public plazas


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

CHRIS BUMBACA

It’s pure bliss in Sunnyside.

Bliss Plaza, the first of two new public plazas constructed in Sunnyside, opened Tuesday. The project was spearheaded by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID).

Last year, the Sunnyside Shines BID submitted an application to the city’s Department of Transportation Plaza Program and with the support of local leaders such as Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, the application was accepted this April.

“Bliss Plaza is an oasis for pedestrians along busy Queens Boulevard and will be a fantastic place to have an outdoor lunch,” said Rachel Thieme, Sunnyside Shines BID executive director. “This is a huge benefit to neighborhood residents and businesses. We are thrilled with the high quality of work that the NYC Department of Transportation has put into this project and extremely grateful to Councilman Van Bramer and our other partners for supporting our application.”

Bliss Plaza is located at the intersection of 46th Street and Queens Boulevard under the elevated No. 7 train. The plaza has transformed an otherwise useless underpass into a lively and public space. The area includes tables, chairs and decorative planters. The project included leveling out a street to create a one-level pedestrian area and was completed by the DOT in early July.

“I commend the city’s Department of Transportation for all the work it has done to make this new neighborhood plaza a reality and I thank the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District for initiating this project and for its commitment to maintaining the plaza and to providing the programming there,” Borough President Melinda Katz said.

The second plaza, the Lowery Plaza at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard, is expected to open this fall. It will also be located under the No. 7 train and will have the same amenities as Bliss Plaza.

“These new public plazas have transformed the space under the 7 train with green space, ample seating and cultural programming,” Van Bramer said. “Tens of thousands pass these spaces every day but with these changes they will use them to meet friends, enjoy their neighborhood and create community.”

 

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Fifth annual music, art street festival coming to Sunnyside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines

The streets of Sunnyside will be alive with the sound of music and art this summer.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District will present its fifth annual free street festival called Sunnyside Summer Strolls on Saturday, July 26 and August 2.

Sunnyside Summer Strolls will bring together local businesses, residents and local organizations under the Sunnyside arch at 46th Street, which has been transformed into a temporary public space with tables and chairs, and scheduled activities.

“Sunnyside Summer Strolls is a great community event series, designed to promote our local businesses, bring arts programming to the neighborhood and provide a temporary public space for the day,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “We are excited to partner with Re-Create QNS to bring new energy and arts expertise to the event this year.”

On Saturday, July 26 is the Children’s Arts and Crafts Fair from 1 to 6 p.m., produced in partnership with Re-Create QNS, a new coalition of creative Sunnyside organizations. Activities include face painting, water marbling, ballet, Irish step, modern dance and performances by local musicians. Families will also have the opportunity to meet with artists and teachers of neighborhood arts and enrichment programs.


Photo by Michael Rapp

“Sunnyside is home to so many innovative and passionate arts groups,” said Nancy Kleaver, Re-Create Qns director. “Re-Create QNS wants to spread the word and make more connections between the public and our local cultural institutions. It will be a fun day for kids and families to be creative together.”

Under the elevated No. 7 train, the new Bliss Plaza will host a pop-up library in partnership with the Uni Project, the Sunnyside branch of the Queens Public Library and the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.

The following Saturday,  from 2 to 7 p.m., will be the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Concert featuring a 1920s theme and lineup of jazz musicians and performers including The Sunnyside Wolverines featuring Linda Ipanema, The Sunnyside Social Club, The Pendulum Swings, The Sunnyside Drum Corps, and The Big Apple Lindy Hoppers.

There will also be a dance floor set up in the street, free photo booth and a 1920s costume contest. Local businesses will be on-site offering free giveaways and services.

For more information visit www.sunnysideshines.org.

 

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Sunnyside to get two new public plazas


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Artie Weiner

Sunnyside will soon have two new public spaces that residents can enjoy during the summer.

Last year, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) applied for the Department of Transportation’s NYC Plaza Program and early this month were notified that the applications were accepted.

“Through this innovative program, we will expand the amount of public space that is available to everyone in the community,” Councilman JimmyVan Bramer said. “I look forward to working with Sunnyside Shines BID, members of the community, and local arts groups to bring the space to life through a diverse array of public events, programming and cultural performances.”

The plazas will be located under the elevated No. 7 train line at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard, and 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. Both locations currently are closed to vehicles.

The Sunnyside Shines BID will work as the nonprofit partner to maintain the plazas and program yearly community events and activities in it.

“As more and more New Yorkers come to know Sunnyside as a great place to live, work and play, I’m sure exciting announcements like the forthcoming public plazas will keep on coming,” Senator Michael Gianaris said.

These two public plazas will receive improvements such as planters, benches and movable tables and chairs, in order to create public gathering places for the neighborhood.

“The NYC Plaza Program has done a tremendous job creating new usable, public spaces throughout the city, and we are thrilled to bring this innovative program to Sunnyside,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “We look forward to making these spaces more vibrant public places in the neighborhood.”

A community outreach meeting to go over design and programming options is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-13 39th St.

 

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Sunnyside Shines BID launches programs to help business district


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Michael Rapp

One local business improvement district (BID) is looking to help Sunnyside “shine.”

The Sunnyside Shines BID recently launched two major programs that aim to help improve businesses and the overall neighborhood of Sunnyside.

The first of the initiatives is the gate replacement program which will help businesses replace their solid metal gates with open grille gates. During the pilot program, up to five businesses within the BID will be able to recover half of the cost — up to $1,000 — of a new gate. The BID will be accepting applications for this program through April 15 and will review them at a first-come, first-served basis.

“We really hope to help improve the look and feel of the district,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “Sunnyside is a very safe district and we want the shopping district to reflect that. This is a great neighborhood and we want to help business.”

Thieme added that if this program goes well during the first year, the BID will look to help more businesses the following year.

The second initiative is one that hopes to attract new retail into the neighborhood.

Thanks to the City’s Department of Small Business Services’ Neighborhood Development Division, the BID has been matched with real estate consultant JGSC Group to look at how retail is doing in the neighborhood.

During one of the reports, it was found that residents spend close to $227 million each year outside of Sunnyside and also that the neighborhood has more businesses that offer services, rather than goods.

“Sunnyside residents spend on most of the goods and services outside the neighborhood and we want to capture some of that spending at our local businesses,” Thieme said. “We want to give people more reasons to shop locally.”

After conducting its own shopper survey last summer, the BID found that some of the type of retailers residents would like to see are clothing stores, housewares, more full service restaurants, independent coffee shops and a bike shop.

Thieme said the next step would be to send marketing tools to 200 retailers in the city that might want to come and open up shop in Sunnyside. The BID will also be posting available spaces throughout the neighborhood on the website.

For more information on either program or to fill out an application for the gate replacement, visit here.

 

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Sunnyside battles graffiti with new removal program


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Sunnyside will soon shine brighter, thanks to a monthly graffiti removal program.

With the help of a $2,500 donation from the TD Charitable Foundation, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) launched its efforts to combat vandalism.

“We are extremely grateful for this generous award from the TD Charitable Foundation, which will sustain our increased graffiti removal efforts in the neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID.

Each month Sunnyside Shines identifies graffiti in the area, which is later removed by a specialized contractor.
Last month, tags were removed from 22 businesses.

By removing the graffiti on a monthly basis, Sunnyside Shins hopes to assist in beautifying the neighborhood and making Sunnyside an enjoyable area to shop and do business.

“Removing graffiti on a monthly basis helps maintain a clean and safe commercial district, and also helps attract new businesses to Sunnyside,” said Thieme.

To report graffiti on your business, call Sunnyside Shines at 718-606-1800 and the business will be added to the list of upcoming sites to be cleaned.

 

Before and after photos from the graffiti removal program:

 

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