Sept. 18, 2014 By Christian Murray
Sunnyside’s commercial district is on its way to looking a whole lot greener.
Sunnyside Shines is about to plant an additional 27 trees throughout the business improvement district to ensure that every street is covered.
Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, said that the district currently has 126 trees and after the planting there will be 153, which will line Queens Boulevard (38th to 50th Street), Greenpoint Avenue (42nd to Queens Boulevard) and nearby streets.
The 27 new trees are expected to be planted this fall, care of a grant the BID was able to secure from the Queens Borough President’s office in June. These trees will also be fit with tree guards, as part of the BID’s quest to ensure that all 153 trees in the district eventually have guards.
“Street trees provide so many benefits to the district,” Thieme said. “They create a buffer between traffic and pedestrians, provide cleaner air and help create a more attractive neighborhood.”
Currently, 27 of the 126 trees have tree guards—following the recent installation of 19 tree guards on the north side of Queens Boulevard between 40th and 45th Street, which was in part funded by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office.
The first eight guards were installed in January—when White Castle and Pickman Realty covered the cost to put them in on the south side of Queens Boulevard (between 43rd and 44th Streets) and on 46th Street (between Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue).
“The tree guards are a big improvement to the Sunnyside streetscape,” Thieme said. “They protect the tree roots and plants, which will keep the district looking greener. “
The standard cost of a tree guard is about $1,000, after it is measured and custom-made for a given location. Some cost more if the tree bed has to be expanded.
Thieme said that BID plans add another 15 guards early next year—although it is still working out its budget.
In addition to the trees and guards, the BID plans to add plantings to all the tree beds throughout the district. The BID has started planting a type of Liriope, which is an ever-green with a purple summer bloom, to some of tree beds.
Some businesses have taken it upon themselves to add plantings to tree beds. For instance AAA hardware, located at 43-24 Queens Boulevard, and Takesushi, at 43-46 42nd Street, have flowers outside their establishments already in bloom.