Tag Archives: Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Watch out, 5th Avenue! Sunnyside to host holiday window contest


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Instead of decking the halls this holiday, businesses in Sunnyside will be decorating their windows, hoping to catch residents’ eyes and take home a big prize.

Starting on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District will be sponsoring the Holiday Window Contest, encouraging local stores to decorate their windows for the holidays.

In its second year, the contest serves as a competition for not only businesses but also local photographers, who are asked to submit their photos of Sunnyside holiday windows to the Sunnyside Shines BID’s Facebook page.

“The photo contest was so fun last year, and it really encouraged people to go around and snap photos,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID. “Around the holidays, businesses go all out.”

Los Verdes, a restaurant located at 46-26 Greenpoint Ave., was one of the businesses that took home a prize last year for their window display that included snow and holiday lights.

“We’re currently working on ideas to see how we can top it this year,” said Javier Quezada, owner of Los Verdes. “It’s cool because it creates a unified atmosphere in the community.”

To enter, participants have to take a photo of a business in the Sunnyside Shines district and their holiday window decorations. Then they must upload the image to the contest section on the Facebook page, and people can begin voting.

There will be cash prizes for the top three businesses with holiday windows and also for the photos on Facebook with the most votes.

The deadline to enter and vote is Dec. 24 by 5 p.m.

For more information and to check out the contest, visit www.facebook.com/SunnysideShines after Small Business Saturday.

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Sunnyside BID encourages residents to ‘shop local’ for holidays


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

On this year’s Small Business Saturday, one business improvement district is making sure residents keep it local.

The Sunnyside Shines BID is celebrating Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29 with a kickoff event in Bliss Plaza, one of two new pedestrian plazas under the elevated No. 7 train, and with the release of Sunnyside’s first-ever Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide.

“We really want people to reengage with the local businesses here in Sunnyside,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the BID. “There are just so many opportunities and we do have a good variety of retail [in Sunnyside] and we really wanted to highlight that in this guide and showcase that there are so many different types of ideas here.”

The guide, which was created in partnership with students at LaGuardia Community College, is a full-color, printed brochure that features holiday gift ideas from 22 local shops. Residents that live in the area the BID covers will receive the guides in the mail next week.

Czarinna Andres, owner of Bing’s Hallmark, located at 45-15 Greenpoint Ave., said she is delighted the holiday gift guide will help promote local businesses like her own.

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

“Every bit of publicity helps local businesses. Launching the gift guide on Small Business Saturday is a perfect way to make the community more aware of the importance of shopping locally,” Andres said.

Seda Bagdasarya, owner of the jewelry shop That’s Incredible at 45-21 Greenpoint Ave., also hopes this guide will help improve business and bring more customers.

“It’s going to be very good,” Bagdasarya said. “It could be very helpful for business and I hope it continues every year.”

The Small Business Saturday kickoff event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at Bliss Plaza, located on Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. It will feature free giveaways including the guide and Small Business Saturday-branded tote bags, while supplies last. There will also be live music from the Sunnyside Social Club.

“Resources like the Sunnyside Shines Shop Local Holiday Gift are creative, important tools to help promote local businesses and engage residents as they start shopping for the holiday season,” said Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services, who encourages New Yorkers to shop locally this Small Business Saturday and beyond.

For more information, visit www.sunnysideshines.org.

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Second Sunnyside pedestrian plaza officially opens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Sunnyside residents will now have more room to get together and enjoy the outdoors.

The second of two new pedestrian plazas opened in the neighborhood Friday afternoon at the intersection of 40th Street and Queens Boulevard, under the elevated No. 7 train.

Transformed from an underutilized underpass, the plaza includes tables, chairs and decorative plants. It was named Lowery Plaza after 40th Street’s original name, Lowery Street.

“The opening of Lowery Plaza is great news for Sunnyside residents,” Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall said. “This new local destination will significantly improve the life of residents and the vitality of local businesses in Sunnyside and Queens.”

The plaza is part of the DOT’s NYC Plaza Program and will be managed by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District.

Local elected officials, leaders and business owners cut the ribbon opening Lowery Plaza.

Local elected officials, leaders and business owners cut the ribbon opening Lowery Plaza.

“This is something that the community is starving for, more open space and more space to come together as a community,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “The opening of this plaza on 40th Street, just like Bliss Plaza on 46th Street, is a sign of Sunnyside’s continued growth as a destination neighborhood for New Yorkers.”

In July, Bliss Plaza opened at the intersection of 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. The site also includes tables, chairs and planters. This project included leveling out a street to create a one-level pedestrian area

“We have received such positive feedback from community members and business owners about the success of Bliss Plaza, and I’m delighted to replicate this success at Lowery Plaza,” said Rachel Thieme, Sunnyside Shines BID executive director. “The plazas are fantastic neighborhood amenities and true gathering places in Sunnyside.”

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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 kicks off season with Holiday Lighting Ceremony


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The holidays have officially begun in Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, Sunnyside Chambers of Commerce, local elected officials and community members gathered on Tuesday for the Sunnyside Holiday Lighting Ceremony.

Residents of all ages got the chance to meet and take picture with Santa and listen to the Sunnyside Drum Corps while they sipped hot chocolate provided by White Castle. Bing’s Hallmark, located at 45-15 Greenpoint Avenue, also provided holiday ornaments to hang during the ceremony.

Photo courtesy of Luke Adams

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer led the countdown with the community to light up the holiday lights.

After the lighting ceremony some attendees got together for an Italian dinner at Dazies Restaurant located at 39-41 Queens Boulevard.

Photo courtesy of Luke Adams

 

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First Sunnyside Restaurant Week to be held Nov. 4-8


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Arthur Rosenfield, OurLIC

Get ready to dine in Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) is holding its first-ever Sunnyside Restaurant Week from November 4 to 8.

The five-day celebration will offer participants a “culinary journey through Sunnyside,” featuring special three course dinner menus for $25 at 17 participating local restaurants. Six of the 17 will also feature two course lunch menus for $10.

Along with indulging in cuisines from all around the world, Sunnyside Restaurant Week will also feature site-specific art installations, titled “Conveying the Invisible,” curated by No Longer Empty, a contemporary arts organization.

Photo by Bradley Hawks

The artworks for the week will bring visitors a combination of space, food and art.

“This collaboration has given exposure for emerging curators and artists and brings the art experience to new audiences,” said Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, executive director of No Longer Empty.

Three artists will be on-site on Monday, November 4 and the opening reception for the week will be at Venturo, located at 44-07 Queens Boulevard, at 5:30 p.m.

“Sunnyside Restaurant Week is an exciting opportunity to highlight the neighborhood as a creative district with great restaurants,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID. “We hope to draw new people to the neighborhood as well as inspire Sunnyside residents to discover new art and restaurants they haven’t tried yet.”

Photo courtesy of Takesushi 

The 17 Sunnyside restaurants, which can be found on Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue, include: Arriba Arriba, Bliss 46 Bistro, Bliss Street Station, Bucharest Restaurant, Dazies Restaurant, Dee Thai, I Love Paraguay, Malingo, Mario’s Restaurant, Molly Blooms, New York Style Eats, Nodus, PJ Horgan’s, Sidetracks, Takesushi, Turkish Grill and Venturo.

The six restaurants offering the lunch menus are Arriba Arriba, Bliss Street Station, Bucharest Restaurant, Molly Blooms, Nodus and Takesushi.

The project is partially funded by the Avenue NYC program administered by the New York City Department of Small Business Services.

Menus for each of the restaurants and details on each art installation can be found on www.sunnysideshines.org/sunnyside-restaurant-week.

 

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Sunnyside unveils neighborhood map


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Residents and visitors will now have a colorful way to get around Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce got together with LaGuardia Community College to develop an artistic, colorful map of Sunnyside targeted at both visitors and incoming residents.

At the start of the project, 14 students in the Art and Humanities Department at LaGuardia were asked to submit sketches of a Sunnyside map. They highlighted neighborhood attractions, amenities and landmarks to help familiarize visitors with the area. In July, three students were recognized as the top finalists. Carmen Zhu won first place, Adina Partoi won second place and Miho Nozawa won third place.

Local business owners, elected officials and residents gathered on October 2 to celebrate the unveiling of Zhu’s finished map at Bar 43, located at 43-06 43rd Street in Sunnyside.

“This map is a great reflection of our thriving local business community,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID. “We are thrilled to get the word out about Sunnyside with such a beautiful map to be able to distribute to visitors.”

During the summer, the artwork created by the fine arts student was brought together with a business directory and advertisements from local Sunnyside businesses. Printed maps will now be distributed at hotels in Long Island City, local real estate offices and community events. A new business directory in the map will be updated each year.

“Sunnyside’s businesses are some of the best in New York City – and I’m very happy to say that the design of this map is an accurate representation of the beauty, energy and warmth of the neighborhood,” said Swain Weiner, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. “We’re proud of the collaboration behind this project, and of this opportunity to showcase some of Sunnyside’s finest establishments.”

 

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Sunnyside map to help visitors, residents explore neighborhood


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Visitors and residents are getting a colorful way to find their way around Sunnyside and explore the thriving community.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia Community College are developing an artistic, colorful map of Sunnyside targeted at both visitors and incoming residents.

At the start of the project, 14 students were asked to submit sketches of a Sunnyside map. They highlighted neighborhood attractions to help familiarize visitors with the area.

On July 2, three fine arts students were recognized as the top finalists. Miho Nozawa won third place, Adina Partoi won second place and Carmen Zhu won first place.

“We are looking forward to having such an exciting document to be able to distribute to visitors,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID. “This map is a great reflection of our thriving local business community.”

The final map will feature Zhu’s artwork and include a business directory along with advertisements from local Sunnyside businesses.

The map is expected to be completed and printed later this summer. It will be circulated in Long Island City hotels, real estate offices and community events.

“Sunnyside’s businesses are some of the best in New York City, and I’m very happy to say that the design of this map is an accurate representation of the beauty, energy, and warmth of the neighborhood,” said Swain Weiner, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

 

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Sunnyside businesses offering exclusive deals every Thursday in May


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

1 - Hoppin' Thursdays card

Get ready to start hoppin’.

Area businesses are participating in Hoppin’ Thursdays in Sunnyside, a weekly promotion for the month of May.

Thirty-three business are offering exclusive deals to customers.

The promotion is co-sponsored by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) and Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars.

The deals include dining and drink specials, discounts on products and discounted salon services. When a customer purchases a Hoppin’ Thursdays deal, he or she gets a stamp on the back of a card available at participating business and the Sunnyside Shines BID’s office. A complete list of businesses and deals is on the back of the card.

“It’s a great way to encourage people to check out a business they haven’t yet,” said Rachel Thieme, director of the Sunnyside Shines BID. “And it is a great way for businesses to promote themselves.”

Customers who receive stamps for buying at least five deals will be eligible to enter a sweepstakes with prizes including a flat screen TV, an iPad mini and a Kindle Fire. There is no limit on the number of cards participants can complete.

“Businesses have been very creative with their Hoppin’ Thursdays deals and we want to generate excitement about shopping locally in Sunnyside,” said Thieme. “This is also a great opportunity to introduce our excellent local businesses to people from other neighborhoods.”

Every Thursday this month, participating bars will offer a “buy one, get one free” offer on a featured drink with a limit of one drink special per customer per night.

Other deals include two-for-one wheatgrass shots, $4 smoothies and 20 percent off fresh, organic bread from Go Natural Health Food and Juice Bar at 45-03 Queens Boulevard. Pink Icing Bake Shop at 44-13 Queens Boulevard is offering a free cupcake or small coffee with a $5 or more purchase between 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Thursday.

For a complete list of participating businesses and specific deals, visit www.sunnysideshines.org.

 

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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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