March 4, 2015 By Christian Murray
Sunnyside Shines held its annual meeting Monday and focused heavily on its beautification projects as well as it events.
The BID provided an overview of its 2014 achievements—spotlighting the opening of the plazas at 46th and 40th Streets; its tree planting and tree-guards program ; the Taste of Sunnyside; Sunnyside Restaurant Week; as well the effectiveness of its sanitation and graffiti-cleanup programs.
The meeting did not cover items such as the Sunnyside Yards proposal or real estate development.
Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, put together a PowerPoint presentation and went through each item in front of about 60 attendees.
Thieme said that the plazas have proven to be a big success–often bustling with people eating lunch or hanging out with friends.
“We felt that those areas [by the station] were being underutilized,” Thieme said. She said they needed to look more welcoming—and the addition of tables, chairs and planters have made a significant improvement.
Thieme said that plenty of people walk through the upgraded plazas each day. Citing MTA statistics, she said that the 46th Street turnstiles were swiped 4.64 million times in 2013–while the 40th Street turnstiles were swiped 3.39 million times.
Thieme said that the BID started a five-year plan last year to make certain that every block within the district has trees and tree guards.
“Some blocks have lots of trees… with plenty of greenery, while others have just one or none,” she said.
In 2014, the BID installed 27 new tree guards. This spring, the BID will be adding 27 new trees and tree guards, care of funding it received through Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
After the Katz expenditure, the BID will have 153 trees and 54 tree guards.
Thieme said that the BID cleaned 156 instances of graffiti from storefronts and gates in 2014. She urged landlords and business owners to reach out to her office and let her know what needed to be cleaned.
The BID reported that it collected more than 2,000 bags of trash each month and that it would soon be getting more trash cans.
Thieme said that about 600 people attended the Taste of Sunnyside last May, with more than 30 restaurants participating. She said that holding it under the 7 train proved a success, since it was such a visible location.
The event will be held under the 7 train again this year—with the date planned for May 19.
The BID also organized Sunnyside Restaurant Week in October, where 33 restaurants offered specials for a week; summer strolls—providing a jazz concert as well as arts & crafts; and contests such as the Sunnyside Holiday Window Contest, for the store most decked out for the season.
These events will all continue this year.
The BID held its annual election on Monday and the same board members and chairman John Vogt were reelected. The board, however, was expanded from 17 to 19 members—with the addition of Francine Israel (property owner) and Giuseppe Falco (a commercial tenant).