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Sunnyside Shines’ Executive Director Resigns

Photo: QueensPost

Aug. 23, 2012 By Christian Murray

The executive director of Sunnyside Shines, the local business improvement district (BID), has announced his resignation.

James Bray, who joined Sunnyside Shines in February 2010, will be leaving on Sept. 14. He did not cite a specific reason for his departure or what he plans to do upon leaving.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here,” Bray said. “It’s been fun. But now is a good time to try something else.”

Bray has been in charge of organizing events such as the Taste of Sunnyside, Summer Streets, Movies in the Park, the holiday lights, and overseeing the BID street cleaners.

The BID’s role is to promote business in Sunnyside and it has an annual budget of approximately $300,000. Bray joined the BID when he was 23, shortly after graduating from Rutgers University in New Jersey with a degree in marketing and computer science.

The BID has yet to hire a successor and will be conducting a search reasonably soon.

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More Like Sunnyside Tarnished……..What did he do to make the area shine? Looks to me like a lot of low level shops and vacant shops.

This area should have some better quality and variety of mid level shops with all the new moneyed residents that have moved to Sunnywood.

Concerned Parent

The best thing Sunnyside Shines has ever done is hiring someone to play Santa Claus in December. That Santa was wonderful with the children and the entire event brought back old family values and created fond memories for us all. I hope this tradition continues under the new administration. God bless us everyone.


Can someone from BID Board of Directors tell the public what is going on, or what has been going on???
BID Board of Directors
Executive Committee

John Vogt, Chair
White Castle System, Inc.

Chris Winchester, Vice-Chair
Pickman Realty

Arthur Weiner, Treasurer
LIC Building, Inc.

Patrice Lee, Secretary
April Glass

Board Members

Steve Fleischer
Ownership Realty

Lillian Gavin
Dazies Restaurant

Gerald Lederman
Triad Management

Maureen Lynch
Lynch Funeral Home

Joseph Wessely
Dime Savings Bank

Alicia Prendergast
Sunnyside Resident

Robert Kennedy
Office of the Mayor,
Department of Small Business Services

John Liu
New York City Comptroller

Melva Miller, Director Economic Development
Office of the Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall

Alexis Confer, Chief of Staff
New York City Councilperson, Jimmy Van Bramer

Debra Markell-Kleinert, District Manager
Community Board 2, Joseph Conley, Chair

43rd Street Resident

Never heard anything more about the resolution that come from the Sunnyside Chamber and BID feud over $800.00 in funds for Taste of Sunnyside 2010.

James Bray announced that instead of splitting the leftover monies, it would “roll the money over”.


Not everyone in the neighborhood is primarily interested in taking pleasure in bicyclists getting into accidents.

Preschool Teacher

Gosh, Woodward and Bernstein didn’t do this much research on the Watergate break in!!! Why does everything have to be a conspiracy?!


You’d have to ask someone with the BID about that. I have no knowledge of or affiliation with them beyond what I’ve described.

43rd Street Resident

Mr. Bray is moving on to something else? Very Interesting!

He was stacking shelves in Home Depot before he acquired his $60,000 per year job. If he’s not related to someone in Sunnyside Shines then I would like to follow in his footsteps. This man should be a role model for all of us. This is a true “rags to riches” story. I’m impressed!

What’s the something else he’s moving on to? Follow this man!

What’s more interesting is, the new Sunnyside Shines manager, Janet Hohenstein. She has to be someone’s relative; her last address was Moorehead, Minnesota.

If it ain’t politics, then what is it? I would to see her resume.

Who’s going to bring new business in this area? All we get is the same old crony politics. Where is all this money going?


They presented their financial statements at their last annual meeting, which was open to the public, but it looks like they don’t have the most current ones online. Personnel costs on the budget posted online are consistent with that salary level + fringe.

you all make me laugh

Do you have a link to where you saw that? The only finacials I could find on were upto June 30,2009. That was 8 months before Mr. Bray started according to the article. Thanks!

you all make me laugh

Do we know how much of that $300,000.00 annual budget Mr. Bray took home as pay each year?


I can rarely tell the difference between this group and the Chamber of Commerce. Seems to be a lot of overlap.

Regardless, it was not a job well done and I hope the new leader makes improvements. For the amount of money spent, there is barely anything to show for it.

I won’t hold my breath though.


As someone who has worked on projects with the BID in the past and knows the actual details of the situation, Neighborhood Eye’s conjecture is entirely incorrect. There’s nothing nefarious in the works, Mr. Bray is just moving on to something else.


Good luck to James on his new endevor… I know are town is very tough and difficult to get things done at least hearing from him and his commnets.. I would like to think that we can be more pro-active with our town and getting more business here and services for our community… I myself have alot of ideas that I am going to bring foward but I am not interested in successing him…

Neighborhood Eye

Politics. Someone else wants his salary, I bet. I hope it is an outsider, not the cousin or sister-in-law or unemployed brother of someone on the board. That happens quite often enough around here, thank you. Just look at another non-profit in the area with a big budget–its on 39th Avenue. Lots of juicy projects go to relatives.


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