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Sunnyside Shines Cuts the ribbon to 40th Street/Lowery Plaza

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Oct. 26, 2014 By Christian Murray

The gritty entrance to the 40th Street subway station has been transformed into a tidy plaza complete with tables, chairs and planters.

Sunnyside Shines cut the ribbon Friday to what’s now called “Lowery Plaza,” which features planters, tables and chairs. The opening comes just three months after the successful launch of the “Bliss Plaza” at 46th Street that has been well received since it opened.

“This space has been transformed from an underpass to a beautiful pedestrian oasis,” said Rachel Thieme, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines, which is commonly referred to as the BID. “It has seating, tables and colorful planters—a great place to eat lunch.”

The Lowery Plaza was put together quickly once the artwork that had occupied the space was removed Wednesday. The concrete surface was power washed and the planters, tables and chairs were added.

The planters have been systematically placed alongside Queens Boulevard, as a means to create a green buffer and soften the noise from traffic. While most of the planters were in place Friday, more will be arriving.

“We have received such positive feedback from community members and business owners about the success of the Bliss Plaza,” Thieme said, adding that “I’m delighted to replicate this success at Lowery Plaza.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that when people “hop off the 7 train at the 40th and 46th Street stations they will be welcomed by two new beautiful public plazas that have completely transformed the neighborhood’s most underutilized spaces.”

The two plazas stem from an application the BID filed with the DOT last summer for the two sites to be included as part of the NYC Plaza Program. The DOT approved the BID’s proposal and agreed to help design the plazas and provide the funding.

Both plazas will be open from 9 am until dusk. The Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a non-profit group that is dedicated to maintaining public plazas, is in charge of putting away the tables and chairs each night as well as looking after the planters at both locations.

During the ribbon cutting a fruit vendor was operating on the periphery of the 40th Street/Lowery Plaza area.

Sources say that the vendors will be left alone as long as they abide by city law.

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Hope we can keep squirts and others like him away. everything over there could use a good power washing.


Lol at plants to reduce noise. Like as if 5 bushes are going to drown out the sound on queens Blvd

why block crosswalks?

What possible justification could there be to block the crosswalks? They put those black posts right in front of the marked crosswalk on the street. They only left space for the ramps but haven’t they seen how many people cross the street when its busy? You can see in the photo above how it’s right in front of the crosswalk. I am calling 311


I like the idea of these plaza’s, but in reality, I think the money could be better spent elsewhere. Before I get moaned at, here’s my thinking;

A) You want some fresh air… Both plaza’s are sandwiched between queens blvd, and incredibly busy road, full of pollution, the air’s not so fresh.

B) You want to get out the apartment and get some sunshine… Bit difficult to get sunshine sitting under 3ft of concrete, youre more likely to just get a pigeon poop on you.

C) A nice place to meet friends… Except if everyone is meeting here, they are no longer meeting in the local bars, restaurants and coffee shops, thus depriving the local small business’ of much needed money.

D) We already have a bit of a problem with undesirables hanging around, now we’ve given them somewhere to hang out.


Could Sunnyside Shines get some GOOD food trucks in there? I mean how hard is that?!?!

Anonymous visitor

“Both plazas will be open from 9 am until dusk”…so I guess you won’t be able to get on or off the train outside those hours…it is all just PR to make it look like Sunnyside Shines is doing something. Who cares? I miss the vendors at 46th Street, they should be encouraging more vendors not throwing in a few tables and chairs.


I don’t like the plaza for one big reason. If a wheelchair wants to gain entry from underneath the viaduct, they have one entrance which is (frequently) either blocked by mta money truck, nypd traffic van/cars or someone sitting at table. Its disconcerting that the disabled are not thoughts of in the planning.

longtime resident

I didn’t see much of a point to these plaza before they happened, but now that they are here, I have to admit they are a good spot for meeting someone in the neighborhood. Doubt I’ll use them for that purpose much in the dead of winter, and I still think it’s a weird spot to have lunch, but I’ve used the spot as a meeting place more than I had imagined I would.

confused 2

Nobody on this site supported the artwork that I can recall. The artist had a contract for the timeframe his art was displayed and it ended.

People like this but I’m a grouch and just see it as making a crowded place more congested. I never eat lunch in Sunnyside but maybe the people who travel to Sunnyside to work like having that option. I would hardly call it an oasis but kudos to the group for trying to beautify our spaces.


Beautiful!!! Great job making an otherwise ugly dirty space fresh and clean. Keep up the great work. Thank You


HA HA to all the people defending the stupid artwork that was taken down. You should apologize to us. You were wrong…admit it


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