Tag Archives: Sunnyside

LIC-based grocery delivery service aimed for mom and pop stores

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Pickup Later

One new delivery service is trying to level the playing field for local mom and pop shops battling the big, online food delivery companies by offering customers the option to have groceries delivered within hours of placing an order at neighborhood stores.

PickUpLater, a Long Island City-based online grocery service started at the end of 2014, allows customers to go on their website and order from a local store’s inventory.

As a resident of Long Island City for the past six years, owner Kodjo Hounnaké said the idea was born after he was ordering from GrubHub and he asked himself why such a service was not available for groceries from local stores. 

Although Hounnaké says he aims for the service to go nationwide, PickUpLater currently only offers customers groceries from Foodcellar & Co. Market, located at 4-85 47th Rd. The service is available for residents in Long Island City, Hunters Point, Astoria, Greenpoint, Sunnyside and Woodside. It has also started to deliver in Manhattan, below 59th Street. 

PickUpLater owner Kodjo Hounnaké

PickUpLater owner Kodjo Hounnaké

The delivery areas are expected to expand, once Foodcellar opens its second location in Court Square. 

Unlike giants like Fresh Direct, Hounnaké added that PickUpLater has groceries directly from the store, not from a warehouse. Also unlike grocery delivery service, Instacart, which delivers from large stores such as Whole Foods Market and Costco, the idea of PickUpLater is to stick to the local mom and pop shops. 

“We’re not [the grocery store’s] competitor; what we offer them is to remove that extra cost and that extra stress,” Hounnaké said. “We’ll come in and do everything for them. In a sense we are their ally not their competition.”

Once the customer places an order on www.pickuplater.com, a personal shopper then does the work of purchasing the items on the list. Keeping an emphasis on “real time interaction with customers,” the personal shopper will text or call customers with any updates or replacement options.

The groceries will then be delivered in two hours, or more, depending on the customer’s request. They also have the option to pick up the products from Foodcellar.

For orders over $35, pick up fees are $0.99. Deliveries scheduled for more than two hours, the fee is $3.99 and $5.99 for deliveries scheduled within two hours.

PickUpLater opens at 7 a.m. and deliveries are scheduled between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Pickup hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Sunnyside map updated to attract more visitors to neighborhood

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Navigating the streets of Sunnyside just got better.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, in partnership with the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia Community College, has released this year’s updated map for the neighborhood.

The map features full-color illustrations and an updated business directory of Sunnyside. A total of 15,000 maps were printed and will be distributed at hotels in Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside, local businesses and real estate offices, and community events.

The introduction of this map is an effort to bring in new people to the neighborhood while also familiarizing new residents with the area.

“The Sunnyside map is a great piece to promote the neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District. “I was glad to see how well it was received last year, and we are grateful [to our] local businesses for supporting it again this year.”

The map, which will be updated every year with a new business directory and is printed locally at Paper Plus Printing, was started last year following a design competition among students at LaGuardia Community College. The artwork featured on the map for both this year and last year belongs to former student Carmen Zhu.

“Like Sunnyside itself, [the map] is both retro and fresh, and a useful, free, tangible gift to visitors and residents in this era of all online resources,” said Rigoberto Cardoso, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.


Brooklyn artist reveals interactive public art project on Sunnyside billboard

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Margeaux Walter

Keep calm and look up, Sunnyside. That’s the message behind one artist’s new interactive project hitting the skies of the western Queens neighborhood.

The organization 14×48 revealed its latest public art project with Brooklyn artist Margeaux Walter on Tuesday on a billboard located on Greenpoint Avenue between 45th and 46th streets.

The project, “Keep Calm Billboard,” features a collection of different uses of the slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” covered all over the vacant space and will be up for a minimum of four weeks.

Walter decided to use the slogan in reference to advertising and consumer culture. The slogan originated in the British Stationary Office during World War II and was created as war propaganda but never distributed.

She added that she was given several options for locations, but chose Sunnyside because it is close to where she lives and a community she frequently visits.

“The slogan is not one that fits into a specific class or ethnicity of people, but rather is universally recognized and used,” Walter said. “I wanted the billboard to be in a neighborhood that was both multicultural, and also in a commercial and heavily trafficked pedestrian area.”

Walter is also inviting people to tweet their own “Keep Calm” message with the hashtag #keepcalm14x48. The tweets will then be made into postcards and distributed along Greenpoint Avenue and at Ave Coffee House, located at 45-01 Greenpoint Ave.

The messages will also be available as a Twitter feed at http://www.14×48.org/campaigns.html#campaign7.

“My hopes is that people will tweet their messages, and then grab a postcard from another community member, turning this advertising slogan into a personalized message,” Walter said. “In turn the voices of community members will be a form of advertising campaign, one that is actually about the individual and not the consumer.”

This installation is 14×48’s seventh project in the city. The organization repurposes vacant billboards as public art space in order to open the door for emerging artists to have more opportunities in public art and to brighten the urban environment.


Sunnyside Shines BID names holiday window photo contest winners

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Christmas might be over but the holidays are still being celebrated in Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) announced on Tuesday the winners of this year’s Holiday Window Contest, which brought it more than 1,100 votes.

The contest began on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29, with the BID hoping to encourage local stores to decorate their windows for the holidays.

First place went to Sunnyside Thrift Shop, located at 45-14 Greenpoint Ave., which took home $300. Sunnyside Florist at 40-05 Queens Blvd. won second place and $200, and Pure Spa and Salon at 40-15 Queens Blvd. won third and $100.

“We hoped to encourage Sunnyside stores to create a festive holiday shopping environment,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “The holiday window contest was a fun way to engage businesses and local residents to get into the ‘shop local’ holiday spirit.”

In its second year, the contest served 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.

To enter, participants had to take a photo of a business in the Sunnyside Shines district and its holiday window decorations. Then they uploaded the image to the contest section on the Facebook page, and people began voting.

Photographer Mehdi Smita of Woodside won $250 for receiving the most votes for his photograph.

Mehdi Smita of Woodside won for his photograph.

Mehdi Smita of Woodside won for his photograph.

“The holiday window contest improved business. I saw more people coming in to look at our windows because of the contest,” said Ayman Kasem, manager of Sunnyside Thrift Shop.

This contest was part of the BID’s plan to promote local shopping during the holidays. On Small Business Saturday, the BID held an event and also released the first-ever Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide, which featured gift ideas and coupons.


Op-ed: Local input needed before moving convention center to Sunnyside

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


There is a proposal to move the Javits Convention Center to Queens, but it should not go forward without input from the thousands of residents who live in the neighborhoods nearby.

There have been proposals to develop this historic industrial space almost since it opened in 1910. The Sunnyside Yards have attracted attention by impractical dreamers, unscrupulous speculators and even some visionary city planners. Still, any serious plan must address the concerns of local residents and businesses before it can be supported by government.

Affordable housing is an important citywide goal, but the plan as pictured in the Daily News looks grossly overbuilt. Residents have a right to see density and scale addressed. Lots of open space must be part of any plan in a neighborhood of few existing parks.

Any plans to develop Sunnyside Yards need strong, local review. I would propose LaGuardia Community College play a lead role in a community-based needs assessment, shared and developed by local residents, students, businesses, community boards and elected officials.

• Any plan must include the effects of remediation. The Yards have been subjected to industrial runoff for so long, they probably warrant Superfund status. What will be the effect of a major cleanup on our community?

• Transportation is critical. The N, R, G and 7 lines are overcrowded and often shut down due to needed upgrades. Bus service is inadequate, and a multi-modal connector to the East Side Access Project must be addressed as well.

• Our community has few health facilities, an antiquated police precinct and inadequate fire and sanitation services. Extensive resources would have to be added before our community could absorb any large infusion of new residents.

• Long Island City has thousands of important jobs in the auto, transportation, food, film, cultural, tech and manufacturing industries. These need to be maintained, not pushed out.

• Our schools have long been among the most overcrowded in the city. Many students attend classes in trailers. Obviously, this has to be resolved for current residents who are now fighting for pre-K, elementary and middle school seats.

We need a plan that recognizes that thousands of us — from Sunnyside Gardens to Hunter’s Point, from Dutch Kills to Ravenswood — have already chosen western Queens for our homes, businesses, education and creative community. We are not going away just because the big boys in Manhattan have decided to tear down the Javits Center and develop luxury housing on the far West Side.

It is not NIMBY to say that our community will not support proposals if we have no say in their development. Those of us who decided to live, work and love our neighborhoods with the Sunnyside Yards as they currently exist must be included in any plans.

Catherine Nolan represents Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Astoria and Long Island City in the state Assembly.



Western Queens gets greener: park officials

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Valerie Medoff

Western Queens has gotten greener these past four years with a project that has planted more than 1,000 new trees — and the program will just keep growing.

Partnerships for Parks, a joint program between the nonprofit City Parks Foundation and the city’s Parks Department, celebrated on Dec. 12 the planting of trees and tree care events in Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside over the past few years.

Key project representatives, elected officials and local organizations, such as New York Restoration Project (NYRP), Trees New York, City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks/Forestry, gathered at the celebration ceremony where the “torch was passed” to community volunteers, who will now lead the program and continue to green the neighborhoods.

Since 2011, the Greening Western Queens (GWQ) Urban Forestry and Community Stewardship Program has brought more than 1,100 new trees and over 100 community-enriching tree care projects to the western Queens neighborhoods.

The four-year, grant-funded project was part of a $7.9 million initiative of The North Star Fund to invest in energy efficiency and environmental projects in the community, which was affected by a 2006 electric power outage.

The GWQ program was created in the summer of 2011, when honey locusts and Japanese pagodas were planted. Since then, the project has planted 1,127 trees, including 598 new street trees on sidewalks, 528 trees in publicly accessible private spaces, such as schools, churches and public housing sites, and a storm water mitigation bioswale on the site of the Steinway & Sons piano factory in Astoria.

Other works include training over 400 people in tree care best practices with Trees New York and supporting more than 1,600 people at over 128 volunteer tree care and greening events.

An existing tree inventory was also conducted, and 455 blocks were digitally mapped in the project area in collaboration with TreeKIT and 54 local volunteers during 27 citizen mapping events.

The program also installed 400 custom-designed, GWQ-branded tree guards in order to protect the young street trees and planted more than 1,800 native perennials in 117 tree beds.


Sunnyside school to be renamed after former councilman, CB 2 chair

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A new Sunnyside school, which opened its doors this September, will be named after a man who officials and residents call a “great advocate” of the western Queens community.

P.S. 313, located at 45-45 42nd St., will be renamed this Friday as the Walter McCaffrey Campus in honor of a former councilman, the late Walter McCaffrey, who represented the 26th District from 1985 to 2001.

According to Joseph Conley, who recently stepped down as Community Board 2 (CB 2) chair, McCaffrey had affection for Sunnyside and wanted to see the site, which once was home to the Sunnyside Jewish Center, serve as a location for a school.

“Walter was such a dedicated New Yorker and hard worker, and this is celebrating his legacy,” Conley said about the decision to dedicate the school in memory of McCaffrey.

The 75,000-square-foot school has a capacity to serve more than 430 students from prekindergarten to fifth grade. The facility features a gymnatorium, library, 20 classrooms, art and science rooms, and a rooftop play area.

McCaffrey, who died in 2013 at age 64, was born and raised in Woodside. Before being elected to the City Council, he served as chair of CB 2.

While in the City Council, McCaffrey also served as chair of the Zoning and Franchises subcommittee and was on the Land Use, Finance, Public Safety and Transportation committees.

In May, local politicians, community leaders and residents celebrated McCaffrey’s life during a ceremony renaming 61st Street on Woodside Avenue as “Walter McCaffrey Place.”

The school dedication ceremony will take place Friday at P.S. 313 with a concert at 8:30 a.m. and a ribbon cutting afterward.


New 108th Precinct commanding officer wants to ‘harden’ community against crimes

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The new top cop at the 108th Precinct wants to enlist the public in the battle against crime as he steps into a new job he said he feels lucky to have landed.

Captain John Travaglia was named commanding officer of the precinct, covering Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Maspeth, on Nov. 17, replacing Captain Brian Hennessy, who was assigned commanding officer of the 115th Precinct.

“We don’t choose where we work in the NYPD, they tell us where we work and my lottery numbers came out. I hit the lottery to be in Long Island City,” Travaglia said. “[Hennessy] left me running with a well-oiled machine.”

Just a few weeks into his new assignment, Travaglia was able to present good news during the Dec. 4 Community Board 2 monthly meeting, when he reported that crime in the precinct had dropped significantly over the previous 28 days.

Robberies were down 8 percent, felony assaults down 9 percent, burglaries down 6 percent, grand larceny down 15 percent, and reports of stolen cars were down 50 percent, according to Travaglia.

In his new position, the 22-year NYPD veteran plans to continue what Hennessy accomplished at the precinct, such as Community Friday, which involves taking time to focus especially hard on quality-of-life issues in the precinct.

Using his experience from a previous assignment at NYPD Highway Patrol, Travaglia also said he wants to do more traffic enforcement, since an important issue in the precinct includes high-volume thoroughfares that carry thousands of commuters to and from work. He plans to emphasize enforcement of Vison Zero — a program championed by Mayor de Blasio to reduce traffic deaths — and also create a enhanced effort to crack down on drunken driving.

“There is nothing more important than getting a drunk driver off the road. I can equate it to taking a loaded illegal firearm off the street,” Travaglia said. “If we can somehow prevent a person from being injured, if not killed, that’s just as good as saving someone from a violent demise due to a crime.”

In regards to crime in the neighborhoods, Travaglia said he sees the same types of crimes that he did in his previous posts at the 114th and 104th precincts, such as property-based burglaries, car theft, and grand larceny.

In order to keep the number of such crimes down, Travaglia said he would like to educate residents on how they can help “harden the target” and lessen their chances of becoming crime victims. For example, residents making sure their windows and doors are tightly locked, making sure valuables aren’t left in cars and being more vigilant of their personal property and information.

“It’s not at all to make people feel like the police aren’t here to prevent this. We are here, [but] we cannot be everywhere. I wish we could stop all the bad people from doing this, but we cannot be everywhere,” Travaglia said. “It really is the community being the eyes and ears for the police department. We need people to call. If something looks out of place, we need to know about it.”

Travaglia said he wants to hear from the community, and that includes concerns about problems.

“I welcome complaints, I welcome compliments. I want people to attend community meetings,” he said. “We need to know what the problems are. If someone sees a problem, we need it to be reported. We cannot work a solution if we don’t know what the problem is.”

The next 108th Community Council Meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2015, at Sunnyside Community Services.


Sunnyside movie theater closing for residential development

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Modern Spaces

And that’s a wrap for Sunnyside Center Cinemas.

The longtime neighborhood movie theater at 45-25 Queens Blvd. will be closing on Jan. 4, according to a published report, after its lease was not renewed because the owner wants to make way for a residential development.

The property was bought in 2012 for $6.65 million from Dime Savings Bank by John Ciafone, husband of Gina Argento, who is the president of film production firm Broadway Stages.

The new owner hopes to lease the ground floor, which has 52,000 square feet of air rights, for $750,000 a year to a developer looking to build a residential structure above, Sunnyside Post first reported.

“I’d like to bring much-needed affordable housing to the Sunnyside community, and I’m currently in the process of looking for a development partner with extensive affordable housing experience,” Ciafone said.

The property is currently being marketed by real estate firm Modern Spaces. The bar next door, PJ Horgan’s, which is also a tenant on the property, will remain open. And although the cinema is closing, Ciafone said that there might be a chance for it to return.

“Once the project is complete, I’d be more than happy to sit down with the owner of Center Cinemas to discuss lease opportunities,” Ciafone said.


Crime down in the 108th Precinct

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

With just three weeks under his belt as the new commanding officer of the 108th Precinct, Captain John Travaglia had some good news to share with the community.

At Community Board 2’s monthly meeting on Thursday night, along with introducing himself to board members and the audience, Travaglia said they have seen a decrease in crime in the precinct covering Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Maspeth.

In the last 28 days, robberies have been down 8 percent, felony assaults 9 percent, burglaries 6 percent, grand larceny 15 percent, and stolen cars have been down 50 percent, according to Travaglia.

“We’re heading in the right direction. I can’t make promises that it will always stay that way but I hope it does. I hope I can keep up the good work,” Travaglia said at the meeting. “I credit a lot of this reduction to Brian Hennessy and the policies he had in place, and I look forward to continuing those efforts.”

Travaglia replaced Captain Brian Hennessy, who on Nov. 6 became the commanding officer of the 115th Precinct. Before becoming the new top dog at the 108th Precinct, Travaglia was at the 114th Precinct, and before that at the 104th Precinct.

“One of the best holiday Christmas presents I ever got was being assigned to the 108th Precinct,” Travaglia said. “I took over the 108th Precinct from Captain Hennessy. He did a wonderful job. He left me with a well-oiled machine. Our men and women are working very hard and very efficiently, and I just hope I can continue it. It’s pretty big footsteps to follow in.”


CB 2 names new chair, executive board members

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

With tears in his eyes, Joseph Conley said goodbye to the position he has held for close to three decades as he handed over the reins at Community Board 2 on Thursday night.

Conley officially announced at the December Community Board 2 monthly meeting that he would be stepping down as chair of the board. He gave the news to board members two days before the meeting via a letter.

“It’s been a great honor for me, a great privilege to be a voice of the community board and in some cases the face of the community board,” Conley said during the meeting. “There is no other reason to say other than it’s time.”

Patrick O’Brien, who previously held the position of second vice chair and has been a member of the board for 13 years, was voted as the new chair of Community Board 2.

Although he is stepping down from his position as chair of the board, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and a part of Maspeth, Conley will finish his term as a board member, which ends in April.

“I have made lifelong friends in this room, people that I have shared my life, my family and you will remain all my friends,” Conley said while tearing up. The members of the board and audience cheered and gave him a standing ovation.

Conley said he joined the board because of the issue of the “squeegee men,” who would attempt to clean car windows on the side of the road at Queens Plaza. Since then he said he has seen each community flourish in its own unique way.

When thinking of his proudest moment of being part of the board, he said it had to be the community’s input for the new Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City and helping to come up with affordable housing in that area.

“It’s tough, it’s really tough only from the sense of the inspiration you get every day from people, trying to help people, making a difference — so it’s very hard,” Conley said. “I’m very happy for Pat. He will be a dynamic leader. He’s very thoughtful, and he has a good grasp of the issues in the community, so he will do a great job.”

Along with voting for a new chair, the executive board members decided to also put forth a new “slate” and vote on a new first and second vice chairman, secretary and treasurer. The decision was initially met with opposition from some board members, who said they felt it was too soon to be asked to vote, especially with only knowing two days before that Conley would be leaving.

However, after going back and forth, the members voted and the new executive board was chosen.

“It’s going to take some time to get the lay of the land even having been on the executive board. There are things that the chairman, particularly this chairman, has done that are going to be hard to duplicate, but you find your way and in a couple of months you do your own thing,” O’Brien said.

The new executive board consists of Stephen Cooper continuing as first vice chair, Lisa Deller going from secretary to second vice chair, Diane Ballek staying as treasurer, and Denise Keehan Smith becoming the new secretary.

O’Brien, who is a lifelong Long Island City resident, said he plans to continue the focus on key community issues, such as quality of life, transportation and development.

“We still have all the same issues. We’re going to miss Joe, but we’re not going to stop working towards all of those [issues]. The good news is that he’ll still be around,” O’Brien said. “We have more issues than answers, but that’s why we’ll work on it.”

Community Board 2’s next meeting will be on Jan. 8, 2015.


Police nab second suspect in ATM robbery of Sunnyside man

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Just days after the first suspect in the robbery of an elderly Sunnyside man was arrested, a second person has been caught, according to police.

Terrel Blanding, 27, of the Bronx, has been charged in the Oct. 26 incident at a Chase Bank at 46-10 Queens Blvd., authorities said.

Two men approached the victim, William Eichhorn, 81, after he withdrew money from the bank’s ATM about 9:23 a.m. that day. The pair then punched Eichhorn in the face and stole $100 in cash and a debit card before fleeing, police said. Surveillance footage shows the suspects following Eichhorn, who is legally blind, inside the bank that Sunday morning.

On Wednesday, police said they had arrested the other suspect, 29-year-old Thomas Fullwood, who shares the same Bronx building address as Blanding. It was not immediately clear if the two were roommates.

They have both been charged with two counts of robbery.


Joseph Conley turning over reins of CB2 after decades of leadership

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

An era is coming to an end Thursday night as a longtime community board chair is stepping down after nearly three decades of volunteer service.

Joseph Conley, who has been chairman of Community Board 2 (CB2) for almost 29 years, announced to board members via a letter Wednesday that it is time for him to hand over the reins, according to Sheila Lewandowski, CB2 member. 

“For a lot of us it was a surprise,” Lewandowski said. “He has really done an incredible job.”

Although he is stepping down from his position as chair of the community board, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and a part of Maspeth, Conley will finish his term on the board as a member.  He is expected to make the official announcement during the board’s monthly meeting on Thursday night. 

Conley’s decision to step down comes as the western Queens neighborhoods serviced by the community board are going through major developments. 

“Community chair is a very tough job, what you do is for the most part unnoticed and unappreciated and he operated at the best interest of the community,” Lewandowski said. 

Lewandowski also added that this changing of the guard serves as an opportunity to open up the spot to other people and also possibly change the dynamic of the overall board. 

“I know there is conversation on whether we should just go for the most likely candidate right now or take a moment to absorb that we will not have Joe and then look around the room,” she said. “I think people are still digesting the fact that Joe won’t be at the helm anymore.”

The community board will be holding an election for officer positions, including chairman, first and vice chairman, secretary and treasurer, at its monthly meeting Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Service, located at 43-31 39th St. 


Sunnyside to host third annual Santathon for charity

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Sunnyside is decking the halls this weekend as the Santas come to town for a drink – all for a good cause.

Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars, a collective of 11 bars and restaurants on and around Queens Boulevard, will be holding their Third Annual Sunnyside Santathon pub crawl for charity on Saturday starting at 3 p.m. The event will be sponsored by S.K.I Beer.

All who wish to participate are asked to come dressed in their best Father Christmas attire and can pick up $10 wristbands at any of the establishments taking part in the festive day. Wristbands allow those wearing them to enjoy $4 drink specials all night.

Participating bars include Jack’s Fire Dept., Bar 43, The Courtyard Ale House, Maggie Mae’s, The Gaslight, Arriba Arriba, Sidetracks, Molly Blooms, PJ Horgan’s, McGuinness’s Saloon and Bliss Street Station.

Map courtesy of Sunnyside's Boulevard Bars

Map for this year’s Sunnyside Santathon (Courtesy of Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars)

All the proceeds from the sale of the wristbands will go to toys for local children and each participating bar will also be collecting monetary donations and also any new, unwrapped toys until Christmas.

During last year’s Santathon, Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars raised over $10,000 in monetary and toy donations. They made donations to local organizations such as St. Teresa’s and St. Raphael’s Church, the 108th Precinct Toy Drive, MercyFirst Angel Guardian Orphanage in Brooklyn and Metro Homeless Shelter.


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.