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Sunnyside Shines Cuts the Ribbon to 46th Street/Bliss Plaza

Bliss Plaza

July 29, 2014 By Christian Murray

The gritty entrance to the 46th Street subway station—long known for its pigeons, ratty newspaper stands and street vendors—has been transformed into a tidy plaza complete with tables, chairs and planters.

Sunnyside Shines cut the ribbon today to what’s now called the “Bliss Plaza” that features 16 planters, 12 tables and 24 chairs. The plaza includes a level surface—as the old roadway that used to cut through the area beneath the subway has been filled with concrete—creating 5,500 square feet of space that can be used for concerts and cultural events.

The planters have also been systematically placed alongside Queens Boulevard, as a means to create a green buffer and soften the noise from traffic.

“This space has been transformed into a vibrant, colorful oasis,” said Rachel Thieme, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines, which is commonly referred to as the BID. “Sunnyside now has a cool green place to eat lunch outside.”

The BID is currently working with the Department of Transportation to create a second plaza underneath the 40th Street station, which would also come with planters, tables and chairs. That plaza—to be called the Lowery Plaza– is expected to be ready by October.

The opening of the second plaza has been delayed since the exercise equipment/artwork that is currently located there cannot be taken down until October. The artist and the DOT entered into an arrangement where it would be up for a year.

However, the Lowery Plaza will be put together quite quickly since the existing roadway is already level. Therefore, all that is required is power washing the existing concrete then adding the planters, tables and chairs.

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.

The DOT held a public workshop in April to get feedback from the community to help it come up with the designs. The designs were then approved by Community Board 2 in June.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who spoke at the ribbon cutting, said that that the new plaza has “transformed a place where tens of thousands of Sunnysiders and Woodsiders go to every single day. People will now see a green Sunnyside, a beautiful Sunnyside a peaceful Sunnyside—not just a place to pass through.”

Van Bramer said that the plaza will act as a good place for people to connect. “It has the ability to bring both sides of Queens Boulevard together, where everyone can meet.”

Several people were drawn to the plaza and decided to sit at the tables. Bharat Patel, a Sunnyside resident who was with his wife, said: “I was walking around and I saw a nice place to sit down. We then decided to eat our lunch here.”

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

Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said that there is more work ahead on improving the plaza. He said he was working on bringing better lighting, wayfinders and tidier newspaper stands.

Thieme said that the BID has also filed an application with the DOT’s art program to add a ground mural. However, “It’s nice and colorful the way it is now.”

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I don’t recall the #7 train EVER having to be evacuated, so why should that remote possibility weigh so heavily on someone’s mind?

Someone needs to control the pigeons- they would not be around if there wasn’t so much food on the ground. Very few of them are starving.

I think this is better WITHOUT food carts. There are plenty of eating establishments nearby; introducing food to this area will only make it dirty and attract vermin. As far as the air quality goes, I do it’s any worse that the air breathed by pedestrians walking up and down the sidewalks of the boulevard- actually the plaza had cross ventilation, too.

So many negative comments; fortunately, they are so easily ignored. Same people were complaining about the benches a few years ago, and everyone seems to like them. I do agree that a pedestrian zone under the arch is the next task. The only way the pet shop will go away is if no one shops there, and that does not seem to be the case. The birds out front are nice! Wait- is he the one selling birdseed?!!


Can’t wait to be forced to go to the Dunkin Donuts on 42nd (the worst DD I have ever experienced) because the coffee cart under the 40th St. stop is forced out for another useless “green space.” Terrible scheme, and as many have said, one most likely contrived for the kickbacks it will generate.

Julia Assange

7TrainDelays had best remark! And by the way, when Jimmy was burglarized, we had a massive show of police so don’t tell me about “not playing favorites”!


I too believe that 46th Street between Queens Blvd. and Greenpoint should have been converted into a plaza. It would have been a great open space. Who really wants to sit under the noisy, pigeon-crowded el amidst heavy foot traffic and between east and westbound Queens Blvd. traffic?

(I do wholeheartedly agree with the comment below regarding the horrible conditions at the “puppy mill loving” pet shop on 46th Street. Who buys pets anymore?)


Anything for a photo op.

JVB would show up at the opening of a can of tuna if somebody with a camera might be there.

Kramden's Delicious Marshall

Let’s not get crazy here.

It’s just some patio furniture and a few large potted plants, it’s not Rockefeller Center.


I have been taking the 7 Train from the 46st train station for over a decade and am pleased to see our tax dollars being allocated to beautify Sunnyside. I would be interested to see bike parking vestibules replace several of the car parking spots.

43rd & 43rd

The tables and chairs are put away every night and taken out every morning — seriously? How much does that guy get paid? And why would you do that instead of just bolting the tables to the plaza?

I’m kind of skeptical about how this will work at rush hour, but it’s a nice impulse, at least. Can’t wait for the garbage to be taken away from 40th St. (I’ve still never seen anyone even touch those things.)

I do hope there’s room for food carts when all is said and done.

Woodside Is Mee

@Julia Assange

That was probably one of the dumbest posts I’ve ever seen on this site! 46th Street isn’t just Van Bramer’s stop it’s a stop for tens of thousands of residents who live in Sunnyside and Woodside. If you read the article – which you didn’t – you would have realized 40th Street/ Lowery is getting the same treatment when the public art is taken down.

As for Woodside, Van Bramer brought the Doe Fund back to the nabe, worked to locate the site for the community’s first school in 69 years, installed pigeon mitigation systems at 52nd and 61st Street stations, and pumped millions of dollars into parks including; Windmuller, Sargeant Collins and Big Bush Park. He also funds Woodside on the Move as well as it’s programs and services. Record speaks for itself!

Woodside Is Mee

@Julia Assange

That was probably one of the dumbest post I’ve ever seen on this site! 46th Street isn’t just Van Bramer’s stop it’s a stop for tens of thousands of residents who live in Sunnyside and Woodside. If you read the article – which you didn’t – you would have realized 40th Street/ Lowery is getting the same treatment when the public art is taken down.

As for Woodside, Van Bramer brought the Doe Fund back to the nabe, worked to locate the site for the community’s first school in 69 years, installed pigeon mitigation systems at 52nd and 61st Street stations, and pumped millions of dollars into parks including; Windmuller, Sargeant Collins and Big Bush Park. He also funds Woodside on the Move as well as it’s programs and services. Record speaks for itself!


…and out come the crybabies…

Julia, DOT will only put these plazas where a community organization will manage them. The plaza is at 46th (and soon to be 40th) because the BID going to handle set up/tear down and cleaning. Woodside doesn’t have a plaza because no community organization has even applied. JVB isn’t playing favorites.

And for those who see this as some kind of real estate cash grab…sorry but no. You think so little of the neighborhood – that we should just accept the underused space and the antisocial behavior that comes with it? You think that the only time something nice happens in a space it’s purely because men in smoke-filled rooms are making a deal? You’re wrong.

Understand this: the plaza may be a desirable thing to the established interests, but it’s also a good thing for the thousands of people who pass through the space every day. This neighborhood has been sorely lacking quality public space and I am so impressed with the work of the BID in getting this plaza done – I’ll be enjoying my lunch there today.


Can we FINALLY all agree to call out all the bullshit of Sunnyside shines already!?!?!

Dov pincus

For the most part JVB has been doing a fine job..but when it comes to this he is laying down the B.S pretty thick….this is a total waste of time and money

Julia Assange

Terrible idea and I hate the plazas in Manhattan which Bloomberg put up. Note: Jimmy Van Bramer did this near the 46th Street station which is HIS station. All his so-called improvements benefit his street and side of Sunnyside. What does he do for WOODSIDE?


If the 7 train had to be evacuated, there would be a lot of people crammed into the space below the station as they tried to exit. This is a issue of public safety. Joe Conley – May 26, 2014 in reference to the food vendors that were there.
OK – Explain how those huge unmovable planters would not be a hazard? I don’t miss the vendors at all, but in a evacuation the vendors could move. Sounds like someone had a agenda here. Double standard at its worst.


Hipsta Thugg- that’s the owner from the dirty pet store on 46th street. It needs to be shut down asap. Horrible, smelly conditions for all those animals inside especially the puppies. So sad and heartbreaking!


you guys are all suckers, It’s like Sycamore said, this terrible idea is just money in the pockets to all those people smiling in that picture. I walked through there the other day and there was bird shit all around.


This is all government. Developers, city officials and Joe Conley.

See that big smile on his face, he’s thinking about all the things he can do with his kickback.

Who is funding the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership? I bet one of Joe Conleys friends or relatives is getting paid nice money to organize a few minimum wage workers to keep the place nice during the summer. After that, they’ll shut it down until next year when a grant come through.

Don’t believe the PR people, it causes brain damage. You lose the ability to recognize the man behind the curtain pulling the levers, spinning the dials and making the smoke screen.

But he is there.

Celtic Bark

Closes at dusk?

The subway is open 24/7 and the entrances are in the plaza. How is that going to work?

Hipsta Thugg

The guy on right just wandered in from some local bar apparently. Usually you put a jacket on for these things dude.


@Owen Kelly, any idea how many parking spots were lost because of this plaza? None. I get the feeling you haven’t actually seen the plaza and are kinda jumping the gun to bemoan the loss of parking spaces.

@Lucky Lu, nobody is going to make people sit there if they don’t want to. Feeling kinda full of exhaust after a while? Go sit elsewhere. Why bring government into this when people will do a fine job making this decision for themselves.

Owen Kelly

It’s a nice idea but someone needs to figure out where to put in new parking spaces to replace the ones that were taken away by this project. Parking has always been tight in that area so a new parking garage or lot is definitely needed for all the people who drive into Sunnyside to shop and eat at the local businesses. Actually this can apply to most busy shopping areas and places where new high rises area being built for housing. It seems no one considers the importance of a parking spot anymore. Even renters drive cars.


I thought it was too “dirty” there to have
food… isn’t that why the vendors had to go? But now we
should go eat our lunch there? Gross.
There were too many people there today to get on and
off the train. Such a bad idea. This plaza could
have been put on 46th underneath the arch and
really beautified an ugly street. Waste of $$.

Lucky Lu

Please tell me that the Health Department is testing lung damage on people who spend time at this “green” space after they sit there daily or weekly sucking in car exhaust.


Went through here yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. All the tables and chairs were occupied and people were relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere. Of course, some idiot had scattered birdseed nearby, so there was a pack of dirty pigeons there, too. But all in all, a good use of a public space.


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