Dec. 15, 2010 By Christian Murray
Santa’s appearance in Sunnyside ended last weekend, following a three week visit where he was greeted by 400 families and many neighborhood dogs.
Sunnyside Shines, the local business improvement group, took over the vacant store at 42-20 Greenpoint Ave. and converted it into a “Santa pic stop.” The empty store was transformed into a photo studio that featured an electric train set and a host of Santa’s helpers. Santa, who happens to be bilingual, was able to converse with families in both Spanish and English as he distributed holiday candy to eager children.
The concept was to draw families to the neighborhood during the three week-ends he was here. Families were provided with a complementary color photo with Santa set against a holiday background, with a copy sent to them via e-mail. Additionally, they were provided with a coupon book, which provided discounts to many local stores.
Shoppers who use these coupons go into a draw for a 40 inch flat-screen TV. The coupon book is still available from the Sunnyside Shines office on at 45-56 43rd Street.
James Bray, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, said he was pleased by the turnout. However, he was amazed at how many people wanted to include their dogs in the photos. “People love their dogs here. I guess that’s Sunnyside for you.”