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Construction on Sunnyside’s Public Plazas Expected to Begin in June

Meeting About Plazas held by DOT (Photo: SunnysidePost)

May 5, 2014 By Christian Murray

The Department of Transportation is likely to start converting the areas beneath the 40th and 46th Street subway stations into plazas as early as June.

These areas are currently viewed as dark and uninviting, and Sunnyside Shines aims to convert them into welcoming neighborhood entrances.

Last Wednesday, the Department of Transportation and Sunnyside Shines held a public meeting designed to solicit ideas from the public on how best to design the plazas.

The meeting, which was well attended, solicited a great deal of feedback—virtually all positive. Most asked for better lighting, wayfinder maps, movable tables & chairs, a colorful concrete surface, planters and artwork, such as murals. However, the current artwork at 40th Street was not highly regarded.

There was also a call for a designated area for food vendors on the periphery of the plazas.

David Breen, the associate project manager for the Department of Transportation, said that these ideas will be incorporated into a plan that will be presented to Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee, which will be holding a public meeting on May 27. That committee is headed by Joe Conley.

Once the Transportation Committee signs off on it, it needs to be approved by the full board on June 5.

Breen said that the 46th and 40th Street plaza areas are currently quite different, since the 46th Street area still has the roadway embedded within it. He said the DOT was prepared to put down new concrete so the 46th Street plaza would be completely level. The surface area would then be 5,500 square feet, slightly smaller than the 6,000 square feet at 40th Street.

This idea to put down the concrete was embraced by the attendees. Some wanted the concrete to be painted a single color, while others wanted a mural on it.

Breen said after the event that he seemed fairly certain the new concrete would be incorporated into the plan—given the public’s desire for it.

Sunnyside Shines will be in charge of maintaining the plazas. It will be responsible for cleaning the plazas as well as keeping tabs on the tables and chairs.

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54 Comments

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mike

Community they don’t care about the people.how many time Sunnyside post made news and people always complain about them.please community members and present readin comment.your people says something open your eyes

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Dorothy Morehead

I like the wayfinders. I hope they are comprehensive and include businesses and points of interest (parks, entertainment venues and houses of worship) throughout the community. If they are interactive, so much the better.

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SuperWittySmitty

Helios, Queens Blvd. is NOT a highway, it’s a thoroughfare that runs through some of the busiest and most densely populated neighborhoods in Queens. The LIE can be called a highway, with its on- and off-ramps, and the fact that it’s mostly not maintained by local authorities but by the state.

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simon donikian

I would like to see present plans. There is a way to make it somehow soundproof and also the way to improve the air. this was a major subject for my early works as I found a bit of romanticism in it. that trend should be enhanced. i prefer people with talent to build,credit or criticize. simon

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Helios

Why not close 46th Street from the Arch to Greenpoint Ave and put the “plaza” there? Close that area to all car traffic.

Who wants to sit under a rumbling elevated train and inhale traffic fumes on a humid summer day? You’ve got to be kidding. Queens Blvd. is a highway not a two lane street. It’s the strangest idea I’ve heard in a long time.

I don’t get it!

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anonymous

more evidence that they’re slowly but surely extending manhattan into queens.

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N Hartley

Bootleg DVDs have been sold in Sunnyside for years from Korean women walking from store to store and annoying customers. It’s no wonder people aren’t shopping in Sunnyside.

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Robert

I’m all for food truck vendors providing they are properly permitted. What needs to go are any “boot leg” DVD vendors and any other make-shift vendor that sells crappy jewelry and knick-knacks.

I also feel the some of the store fronts along 46th St and down Greenpoint Ave should be forced to update and/or standardize their signage for additional curb appeal.

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SuperWittySmitty

Citibike Racks and regular bike racks under the el sounds great. I think a pedestrian mall on 46th by the arch is an idea whose time has come. A beer garden would be nice there, with tables and umbrellas. That empty 99c store could be turned into a craft brewery!

People would see it from the 7 train and decide to move here, and we could get some fresh blood; something this town sorely needs.

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sunnysideposthatesme16

JOR are you a parent who has their child in after school? if you aren’t, then you can’t say a single word about it because like Jon Snow..you know nothing.

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Harp

Why not add the Citi Bike racks there? That would be pretty neat to have and those who complained about their parking spots being taken away would have one less thing to complain about.
It’s a Win-Win

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JOR

Millions are spent on after school programs and the Sunnyside community generously supports related programs such as those offered by the Boys and Girls Club. While not all the money some would like is spent on child related school programs, it’s plain wrong to say after school is ignored.
The DOT Plazas program is providing money to enhance the Sunnyside neighborhood, and only select communities receive this funding. Follow the teachings of St. Jerome, in The Letter to the Ephesians, “Noli equi dentes inspicere donati” and come up with ideas to make the plazas the best they can be for all of us.

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Kabooky Kid

Judging by your posts hipsta thugg I don’t think too many people besides the change guy would want to associate with you so don’t worry.

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sunnysidepostlovesme16

SPHM16: “Also..I offer PLENTY of solutions. I have been talking about after school programs in sunnside for ages and what do they do? ignore that issue and put that money into stupid things like art.’

Talking about change and actually doing something are two very different things. Stop releasing all that hot air, we have enough enviromental issues with global warming, do some actual work.

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N Hartley

Bike stands????? New Woodside Herald headline: Crime Rate in Sunnyside Rises Due to Bike Thefts At Subway Station

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JOR

One improvement discussed at the meeting not discussed above is increased bicycle parking at both plaza locations. However, rather than use the limited plaza space, the recommendation is to place bike stands in one or two of adjacent parking spaces at both locations. Also, the plaza projects have a Facebook page for their fans to follow: https://www.facebook.com/loweryandblissplaza

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hipsta thugg

please make sure it has WIFI access, I just wanna look down at my screen and not have to socialize with anyone. thanks

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sunnysideposthatesme16

Sunnysidepostlovesme- I don’t say anybody is following me, I’m asking for fairness. Pay attention to the words I write, I am simply pointing out the FACT that the mod of this site has a habit of removing comments.

Also..I offer PLENTY of solutions. I have been talking about after school programs in sunnside for ages and what do they do? ignore that issue and put that money into stupid things like art.

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Messer

@ Angray

Just to be clear – the Community board not not have, and have never had, the power to restrict vending locations, relocate a vendor, or remove a vendor. All they can do, as individuals, is call the police and complain, which leads to police harassment of vendors. The only authority with the power to remove, restrict or prevent vendors is the City Council itself.

Also, the already clear NYC laws governing vending clear up your issue. There are very clear restrictions against vendors being certain distances from subway entrances, from sidewalks, from crosswalks from storefronts, and from other specified items. The thought that there would eventually be so many vendors under the 7 that it would be a hazard is already prevented by the law itself.

Also, CB2 did not say it was a hazard because of the slippery slope. They (read: Joe Conley) said very specifically that the 40th St. vendor Was a hazard already by blocking the subway stairs, which was incorrect given that the vendor was further from the stairs than then “art”.

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Krissi

I agree that elevators in more subways would def be a good thing particularly for our elderly residents – I just don’t think it’s financially feasible. Even the elevators in Grand Central are awful.

Anyway, I’m glad to hear the event was well-attended.

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sunnysidepostlovesme16

sunnysideposthatesme16, you created all those comments and now everyone is simply blindly following you? Get over yourself.

You offer lots of vitriol, but no real answers. Get out from behind your keyboard already and make our area a better place.

Or, please change your name to “Sunnyside’s#1whiner”

SPLM16

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Angray

@Messer – I know you understand what I’m saying, but you are too focused on the now. Community Board is saying it is a hazard because if they allow 1 vendor, where will they draw the line? Should they allow the 1 vendor to stay and revisit the same topic down the road when more vendors set up shop? Have a little foresight.

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Messer

@ Angray

Well, of course there is some high number of vendors crammed under the train it would be a hazard. I can’t imagine anyone objecting to that. Leaving aside the obvious that at some point multiple vendors would cannibalize their own sales, so the number would only ever increase so far.

Of course, one vendor is certainly not five, nor does it have the footprint of five. The argument of the community board was not that “five or more” vendors would be a hazard, it was that the single existing vendor was already a hazard. Which is just foolish and transparent. See where I am getting at?

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sunnysideposthatesme16

Anonymous, something tells me you’re “Christian” but I’m not gonna call you Christian, I’ll call you Sunnyside Post Moderator . First name basis is reserved for friends.

I use the word Shill because while the articles are well presented and appreciated, you’ll notice my only anger toward this site is directed toward the deletion of comments. Comments with unpopular opinions. You may not like what I have to say but keep in mind I was one of the FIRST to voice MANY of the opinions now on this site.

So that is my proof. When you guide the comments toward a direction that’s stooge stuff right there. It’s been done to many others, they just haven’t returned to bother commenting.

That being said, The 40th st and 46 NEED an elevator. This should be the #1 topic. there should be an elevator right in the middle of the damn place, not some stupid park. How many mothers risk falling down the stairs with their babies??

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Angray

@Messer – Would 5 large food trucks in that area make it a hazard? See where I am getting at?

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Zero The Hero

Exhaust Fumes and the Rumble of the 7 train = Relaxing time in my book for sure!

The question is what happens when no one uses this space as anything more than a drug or siesta spot? Who’ll take the blame for wasting all the money spent on this brilliant idea?

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Anonymous

Ruben, you claimed Christian is a political shill but offered no evidence. You must know something, so hit us up with some facts, or we will all continue to laugh at you. Opinions masquerading as facts are just that, opinions.

As for the properties on 40th I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. City property records show that the building – the whole thing, not just the vacant corner – is owned by L&K Realty. I’d like to see that space rented out, but you can’t force people to rent their space. It seems they’re assembling small properties so they can develop one large building on the block.

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Take It Easy

@ Ka-Stupid Kid When you learn that we spend the rest of our own lives eating our own words, you will be sorry yours were so hate filled.

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Sunnysideposthatesme16

I laugh at how comments from others that are worse than mine get posted by this hypocritical moderator .

That being said… They didn’t listen when we told them how stupid the artwork idea was, waste of money that could have been used for something else. now they don’t listen again and want to do this. Another stupid idea that nobody wants. more waste of money.

Only reason people want this is to slap another veneer on Sunnyside for people to move in , guess what, stores are leaving left and right and so are tenants. I had 2 people leave one apartment in one year. nomadic hipsters is what I call em’ .

The corner of 40th used to be a pharmacy and a pediatrics. Both have been closed for some time. If sunnyside was so booming where are the companies ready to open here?

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Kabooky Kid

You guys are just so bitter about your failed lives that nothing good in this neighborhood would ever make you happy. Sorry, but $700.00 rents aren’t coming back.

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Stupid is as Stupid does

Funny how they never gave a shit about Sunnysiders until they decided to make money off of out neighborhood.

Never believe anything that comes out of a politician’s mouth, even the very, very good ones are beholden to people so far above us politically and economically we couldn’t see them with telescopes.

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hipsta thugg

whos asking for more murals? is this that op-ed guy from a week ago!? with his aesthetic vision of beautifying the liqour store. stop this guy now. in queens a mural = some hoodlum with spray cans and no skill and no vision.

seats are good, squirts is on his feet all day! the man can use a seat once in a while.

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Anonymous

I’m sure the plaza will be better than what is there now, however why would anyone want to hang out in such a loud space. The constant noise of cars and trucks and the screeching of the train. Crazy

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edisynnus

Get that guy who did the Rise N Shine mural to paint under the viaduct. He seems to like bright colors which is what’s needed to cheer up the space a bit.

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waste

Pigeons, rats, loud subway, cars whizzing by, noise and air pollution to inhale, Chaaaange guy…oh yea, that’s where I want to spend quality time! we all saw through the bullshit that the food vendor was blocking egress. $ would be much better spent on an elevator for folks that struggle to get up the steps to subway and maybe getting Mr Chaaaange the social services he needs, or a one way ticket anywhere he wants to go, if he promises to stay there and spit rivers all over their sidewalks

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Pete

@JohnZ & Cathy Kelleher: The cops are going to run those guys out. Seriously. Just wait. The times they are a changin’.

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M

Who wants to sit and relax in a plaza with cars on Queens Blvd zipping by on both sides and the 7 train running overhead? Nothing about that is appealing. I’ll pass on the exhaust fumes and 7 train rattling.

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Anowamas

After living in Sunnyside, Queens for more than 14 years, I think this change is a very good idea. It was always “dark and uninviting”. I’m glad that they will remove the hideous artwork that no one uses. For the concrete, it better be one color and not a mural. Maybe light gray would look best. The Wayfinder maps shouldn’t be included though.

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Anonymous

@Hoof hearted, I don’t disagree about the placement beneath the arch, but the whinging about the plazas being for outsiders, and only for hipsters would be off the charts.

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Hoof Hearted

A better idea would be to pedestrianize 46st from the arch to Greenpoint and make it a plaza. At least then there’ll be some sun and people will see it from the train and think to themselves, hey, Sunnyside looks pretty cool, I’ll have to check it out.

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Cathy Kelleher

Great! Now maybe the bums, rowdy kids and drunks will get off of the benches by my house and move to “The Plazas”. What’s happening to the parking spots?

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Eurozone

How about COBBLE STONE instead of plain boring concrete. No murals. “Mad hood. “

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Hoof Hearted

Get a really good artist to do any murals. Not just any toy with a spray paint can.

And I agree with above. They just wanted the vendors gone. The excuse about them being a safety hazard was pure BS. It was pure business.

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Messer

I attended the meeting and was very happy to hear nearly all of the working group tables give feedback that vendors are a part of the city and should be worked into the final plan. Hopefully the organizers will take notice of the people’s desire in the final plan.

Personally, given as though the plazas will be an open space with seating, lights and plants, it would be great to have a designated spot build into the plaza design for a vendor (or two!). That way we can avoid the future arguments that the vendor moved chairs to make room for the cart, or that the vendor breaks up the flow. Also, who wants to sit in the middle of a highway without a bite to eat?

@ Frank Daykin

The “poses a danger” argument was always a straw man. At 40th, the vendor was further from the entrances than the “art”, so couldn’t have been a hazard. In the new plazas, the argument will fail even more as movable tables and chairs and big planters will be placed anywhere, blocking off access points.

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Frank Daykin

Let me understand. The reason for getting rid of the food mini-trucks was that it posed a danger, too close to the four subway exits, in the event of an emergency. How is the construction NOT going to pose the very same danger? Just curious.

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John Z

I think this is a great idea, but did everyone forget we live in a neighborhood with a bum who people named “change” and that he actually shits under the subway?? So now we are going to give him a chair n a table to sit at?

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