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Sunnyside’s Business Groups Have Neighborhood All ‘Mapped’ Out

Sept. 12, 2014 By Christian Murray

Sunnyside shoppers will no longer have to ask for directions—as there will be several maps out there telling them how to find local businesses.

The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday that it is producing a comprehensive map that will pinpoint the location of every business in the neighborhood. The Chamber anticipates the map will be ready by June 2015 and plans to make it available online—and mobile friendly.

The announcement came at the chamber’s monthly meeting at Ariyoshi Japanese restaurant Wednesday–just weeks before Sunnyside Shines BID unveils its map that will also list many of the same businesses.

Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, was caught by surprise when she heard for the first time—at the meeting– that the chamber was going it alone and doing its own map. She thought that the chamber and the BID were partnering up on the map that is about to be unveiled—where 15,000 copies will be printed and distributed to hotels, real estate offices and other venues.

“This is news to me that the chamber is not partnering with us on the map,” Thieme said at the meeting, adding that she had spoken to Rigo Cardoso, the chamber president, who supported the project. “We need a resolution on this ASAP.”

Thieme said that both organizations logos were going to be on the map—just like last year’s–which was a joint project.

However, Luke Adams, marketing director at the Chamber of Commerce, said at the meeting that the chamber was not happy about the way the BID is soliciting ads that are being incorporated as part of the map.

The one-time ads, which range from $200 to $800, are deemed too expensive, and he didn’t think it was fair that small businesses—many of whom are chamber members– were being asked to pay such prices. Furthermore, he said, the chamber was not aware of the ad rates until some of its members received solicitations.

However, Thieme said that those businesses that are part of the chamber are listed on the map for free—like last year’s version. She said that the ads were just optional and would help cover the cost of printing and distributing the maps.

Nevertheless, the chamber believes that it can create a better map, one that will be digital and include every business in the neighborhood. The chamber has applied for a state grant to go ahead and produce its own.

The chamber’s decision sparked some controversy at the meeting.

Czarinna Andres, who is on the board of both the BID and the chamber, said that she had no idea that the chamber was coming out with its own map. She said that as a chamber board member she should have been made aware of the decision beforehand.

“I should know when these decisions are being made– that is why I am on the board,” Andres said. “That is how organizations are run,” she said, adding that some members who are not on the board are making too many decisions.

Meanwhile, Michael Fonte who is a board member for both organizations, said he too was not aware of the decision to go ahead with the map. He said that there were “too many decisions being made behind the scenes.”

However, Pat Dorfman, a member of the chamber who is actively involved in the creation of the new map, said “we want to support the BID, which is a fine organization.”

“We are not opposed to working with them,” Dorfman said, referring to the landlord-funded organization. However, “the chamber is all about small businesses.”

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31 Comments

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Mary Caulfield

Sunnyside used to be a good place to live and an ok place to do business. The property owners who served quietly for decades seem to have shape-shifted into anonymous slanderers.That never sheds light, it only makes noise. One of the Big Ten Rules for Living is “Don’t lie about people you live among.” One of the Big Seven Ways to Hopeless Abasement is Greed. For Pete’s sake, look at yourselves. You are a terrible scandal. And no, the story is not a fight about a map, the story is ten new board members. Fights are only stories if you are publishing a scandal sheet.

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Semper Paratus Man

Luke Adams is 10xthe man you are. Who should leave are you on the BID Board for 6yrs. You are not a small business group.You take $500 hundred thousand bucks ayear from stores while you sell Sunnyside& drive us all out one byone.The awful comments against the CofCommerce are from same awful man. Go inherit another building from your Mother.

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Dorothy Morehead

Pat Dorfman and Luke Adams have written about the various issues the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce is dealing with. I would just like to correct the misconception that Luke (or the Chamber) makes a lot of money from the luncheons. First of all, members can pay by cash or check for the Chamber luncheons. I paid with a check made out to Ariyoshi, not to the Chamber, which is the usual practice for the luncheons. A recent change has been to have the luncheons at various restaurants throughout Sunnyside rather than at a single location. The restaurants charge between $18 and $20 per person for the luncheon depending on the menu. This includes a soft drink, tax and tip. The luncheon at Ariyoshi had 33 attendees, 32 of whom paid $22, for a total of $704. The restaurant charged $20 per person, including tax and tip, for a total of $660, resulting in a grand total of $36 to the Chamber. Though a small amount, it is better than losing money every month, as was the previous practice.

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Anonymous

Here is the total chamber of commerce funding through city council grants:
FY 2015 (current year)
$60,000

FY 2014
$50,000

FY 2013
$40,000

FY 2012
$39,500

FY 2011
$37,500

See for yourself at the City Council’s searchable database. Just type “sunnyside chamber of commerce” in the field for organization name. http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/database.shtml

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Statesman

The Chamber luncheon is a cash operation – no checks, no credit cards, no receipts, no bank deposits, no accounting. The money goes directly into Luke’s pocket. Odd that Pat Dorfman is proud of not being a dues paying member but still makes decisions. What actual business person has time for such nonsense from people who don’t have businesses? And how dare they slander the very able head of Sunnyside Community Services behind her back!
It’s pathetic for a business organization to claim it has no money and then goes for public funding to duplicate the effort of the BID which pays its own way. And what ever happened to the $65,000 allocated by councilman Van Bramer? Does the chamber have a budget? Will they release it?

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Anonymous

@Melissa they’ve already got a map with pins. Hover over the “visit sunnyside” tab and then you can select the different categories. Here is the map for shopping: http://sunnyside-chamber.org/visit-sunnyside/shop/

I hope they take you up on the workshop offer.

Chamber folks, I notice you still haven’t fixed the links to your facebook page. What is the url?

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Melissa

@Peter Wing, I think the desired map would have pins for local businesses, which is a fine idea and can also be accomplished using the free Google maps tool. One of the issues besetting the CoC is that they are totally unfamiliar with most of the technologies available to them (at little or no cost), like the social networks that Anonymous mentioned.

I have been trying to find a sponsor for a workshop that my colleagues and I have been developing to introduce SBOs to these resources and give them a plan for how to best utilize them for business. The workshop would be free — we only need a sponsor to provide space/refreshments, a projector and getting the word out to potential participants. So, if there’s any entity out there that wants to make this happen, please drop me a note — doesn’t have to be the CoC, but it seems like they could use the help.

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Peter Wing

Regarding the proposed “digital map”…..the current SCC web site ALREADY has a digital map see this URL which is the “VISIT SUNNYSIDE” tab on the home page: http://sunnyside-chamber.org/visit-sunnyside/

“VISIT SUNNYSIDE” is using a GOOGLE MAPS (free) feature….and I doubt that enough budget exists to create a better, more accessible map, than a this map from GOOGLE.

You have it….no need to reinvent it again!

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Luke Adams Retirement Committee

Luke:

Please retire and move out of Sunnyside. Enough with your presence. Sunnyside needs new leadership and you don’t qualify. Enough with the c of c and the community board.

Luke Adams Retirement Committee

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El Loco

Typical Chamber of Commerce bs. That’s why everyone is against you in Sunnyside. The BID is where it’s at. Like Adams should retire. Pat Dorfman should take a tranquilizer.

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Anonymous

Why doesn’t the chamber of commerce ask its members what kind of projects or services they want or need? I’d be willing to bet that an online map isn’t high on members’ lists – it’s certainly not on the board members’, as the quotes indicate.

Your online media presence is underwhelming:
You haven’t tweeted once since last November! 10 months and you’ve got nothing in the neighborhood to promote? Give me a break – numerous businesses in our nabe have accounts, why not at least continue retweeting their media engagement?

Facebook page? All the links to that from your website are broken. Can you direct me to it? I’m happy to see the blog section of your website is more active – and I can tell a lot of care went into the writing.

Chamber people who are commenting here, you’re embarrassing yourselves and your organization. For the benefit of everyone, BUT ESPECIALLY YOUR MEMBERS, please settle your quibbles face to face and be done. Sunnyside needs all the business organizations to work together.

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Disgruntled Business Owner

Yes, this is an entertaining thread. It’s too bad all the laughs generated by the comical CoC board members (or non-members, since Pat Dorfman claims she is not a member, which is odd since she was apparently at the meeting and seems to know an awful lot about the plans for this second map) are at the expense of Sunnyside’s small business owners.

Both Pat and Luke call out the Sunnyside Post for not focusing on the new board members, but Christian’s reporting instincts are sharp — THIS IS THE STORY, not the election of new members. It brings into sharp relief how our small business owners are poorly represented and poorly served by their CoC. I still can’t get over the idea that they would spend time to write a grant proposal to make another map when they are supposed to be working on one with the BID, who already has the budget for it.

No thread about the CoC would be complete without the ungrammatical Luke Adams chiming in — the comma is your friend, Luke — try them sometime.

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Flores 65

The map looks very nice. I would keep one just to visit places I’ve never visited. To make the maps better, it should also be printed in languages that are known in this neighborhood.

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Nemerio

I know this is petty, but two maps is not several.

According to Webster and Oxford dictionary this is the definition of several:

“More than two but not many”

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Disgruntled Business Owner

do anything to disuade me from my thinking they’re useless. What’s the point of duplicating the efforts being undertaken by the BID, especially if there isn’t even the money for it? The CoC wants to apply for a grant for a second map? Can’t they think of any other things that need attending to?

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Disgruntled Business Owner

The Dorfman doth protest too much and her rambling defense of the CoC’s old guard really doesn’t

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Luke Adams

First of all I was saddened at board members at the lunch in the middle of a good event with happy people so unhappy decided to do a food fight!
I must answer “Anonymous.” Ms Dorfman does know much about the Chamber for a number of reasons, one she is a past board member and Vice Presidnt and created the past website and many things for the Chamber for free for years. Ms Dorfman kept the Chamber going. So yes she does know all about the Chamber and most volunteer organizations in our community and she worked for a number of groups free like the police, churches, the Lions and many others I forget. Like myself Ms Dorfman loves Sunnyside! We are blessed to have her in Sunnyside. If you want to call names put your name!
We are also blessed to have a wonderful new President, Mr. Rigoberto Cardoso, who has worked so hard to build his business in this area. Mr. Cardoso won in a landslide and not just from the Spanish but from all! Sadly the complaining at Lunch was coming from the other candidate supporters! And Mr. Cardoso is not having any of anything that divides Sunnyside or a separate Spanish chamber. Sunnyside is now and has always been all inclusive. Our Chamber is growing with Rigo at the head every day. Complaining means you are behind the times! And I want to clarify an important point. I was a past President of the Chamber and all the presidents are expected to initiate projects and Take Charge. If board members want to have a say, go out and work!. A board member is not just trying to stop what the President is trying to do!
Now let me talk about the same meeting Sunnyside Post you never mentioned the 10 wonderful new Board Members who joined us! Some have been working in our community for over 35 years, many also residents. (Sunnyside does not need carpetbaggers) Remember our chamber is not one area of the community. We are all the groups and Mom and Pops from all over the area Woodside too.
The lunch was at Ariyoshi was wonderful. And what about the scroll? The lunch was outstanding and the restaurant deservs a standing ovation and all our thanks.

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Patricia Dorfman

Dear Christian,

•Corrections:

I am not a member of the chamber and I am not member of the board, and I also never gave you a quote for attribution. I have not been hired to do a digital map. I may not even work on the map as I presume it has to go out for bids and I would want to propose one more art oriented than would be desirable for widespread municipal use.

That said, I think you were trying to be fair. What you did not say was the BID has serious constant revenue stream via funding and the chamber only a few thousand at the moment. It is David and Goliath, not two big successful entities!

And the BID by its design is a property owner’s organization. The organizations do not have the same missions. Small biz, local organizations, and residents need to have a place at the table which the chamber provides.

•And why just a story on controversy?

Why not mention ten new people to the board, some former board members and leaders? That is huge. What are they, chopped liver? And why not mention the big turnout and the tasty food at Ariyoshi with a Japanese raw and cooked feast? Little handmade origami at each table? It was great!

•Are there dark unseen forces at work, like me?

I am a direct, pro small businessperson who wants fairness and an ethical environment for our children to grow up in and our businesses to thrive. I will never run for office and am not money oriented. I do have a behind the scenes mentality from TV production, and help Rigo if he asks, but even Obama has a think tank. One cannot lead and do all the legwork, too. Rigo as many people behind the scenes, all-volunteering for free to see him succeed. I helped Rigo become president because he asked and I knew how to do it from trying to help Luke in the past. But it was a team, and now that team is in office!

•Small town in the big city:

A strong chamber or other local group is key. United Forties, Boulevard of Bars, the Skillman Project, the service organizations, the arts orgs, all are important.

When buildings are sold one by one, and wrecking balls are daily life, when only restaurants like Applebee’s are on greenpoint and QB, it will hurt residents and all current businesses. As Luke Adams says, we will either be Jackson Heights or Soho with no charm and no small town in the big city. Upzoning is a fact, but we need to have local people have an independent voice. Check out Luke’s editorial in last week’s Woodside Herald that captures the situation perfectly.

•Rigo is president of the Chamber!

Cardoso did not build a 20-year minority-owned business here by not being able to control and run an organization.

The digital map has long been the idea of former president Ira Greenberg who left the chamber but is back! Ira was a great president and got a lot done for the betterment of small business. He supports Rigo wholeheartedly.

Rigo, now that he actually has a team with few allegedly trying to oust him, is going to be a killer president. I am very excited! I am, in writing this comment, trying to emulate Luke Adams, my mentor, so to speak, whose fight for chamber presidents let him be the bad guy and the president able to be diplomatic!

•The BID

No one is interested in harming the BID. You will not see me helping with a rival restaurant event. Rachel Thieme took care of business and that event is an example of excellence for all! We all like the plazas, the flowers, the ironwork, the holiday lighting and hope that cleanliness and security continue. My only complaint is that that there does seem some pushback against Rigo and a wish to put in a BID person.

•The preceding election “mini scandal”

The majority of the chamber elected Rigo and then the following week a non-profit executive director allegedly nominated a bank manager president instead at the meeting after the election, which is normally a rubber stamp of the majority vote! So as I understand it, that is a first in chamber history and seemingly going against the small guy and “will of the people.” Rigo managed to hold on to his presidency, but he started with foes on his board that apparently did not support him as president and who did not seem to want to add new board members.

The reason the majority of the members elected Rigo is they like and trust him. Now he seems safer and he has a dream team.

•The map:

I could be mistaken, but I believe the majority of the board knew about the digital map. Perhaps there was hesitancy in having airing the project, as co-board people they might have been in the uncomfortable position being members of both boards about necessarily proprietary software no matter who does it.

Rigo has said he did not want profit for the chamber with the printed map, so perhaps he felt trying to get ads with dual logos made him and chamber look bad. Ask him! He told me he did not see solicitation until the past few days and it was sent a month ago. How was that respectful of him if we are talking surprises?

I personally think a printed map has to be a hand maiden to digital, so I would not have even been in support of reissuing it again, as makes both orgs seem out of touch. Young people, start getting involved or see everything unfold for the real unseen forces!

I do know that Ira Greenberg spearheaded the digital map when he was president. He and Rigo wrote a grant for it. I was a VP then. I personally think no one trusts a sponsored map, as when one goes on vacation and the hotel gives you a map with restaurants only featuring the advertisers. And presumably with public taxpayer money to be used, everyone in town should be on it. I love JOReilly’s idea above of a central wayfarer’s legend! Maybe the BID could carve out some space at the arch. And what about a water fountain?

•Rigo is president

What your article seems to hint is that you and the some think I am running the chamber through Rigo. I helped get Rigo elected but the election is over. I have known Rigo for ten years and he is muy macho. He has often ignored me:)

So in my view, the news is he is currently the most popular and prominent spanish-speaking volunteer elected leader in western queens – A first for the chamber and a first for Sunnyside Woodside. Six people helped elect him because he was ideal for a united Sunnyside. As current VP Dorothy Morehead said at the meeting, Rigo is excellent, and has been killing himself to get the chamber in order. And he toiled at the chamber for many years, day after day after day.

Frankly, I believe that without him, there will immediately emerge a Latin chamber blowing other groups out of the water as with everywhere in the tri-state area. He is the way for us to stay united! He is the answer, not the problem. Why did it take Rigo to be the first person to invite Thalia’s founder to the board not because they are Spanish-speaking but because they are the oldest and most pre-eminent arts org in Queens?

•Dueling maps

So maybe the map is not the issue or people who were told, but seemingly actual local people taking charge of their own organization in tatters allegedly from a past regime. Those who are complaining, with the org starting back on its feet, seem to be siding with big money, big banks, big public funding conduits, and presumed big power. Those entities should be helping the town, not the reverse. We need locals to speak out. I think many know who “anonymous” is above! 🙂

If the we all want unity, how about respecting an unpaid leader elected by the majority? No standing up at meetings complaining. He is a charitable and honorable person, a shrewd businessman who shepherded his small business through ups and downs for 20 years, known for finishing what he starts and for having a kind heart. Acting as president of a volunteer organization is mainly hard work and grief, not glory. He is already a great president and will be good for other organizations and the BID, too!

Anyway, thank you Christian for covering and allowing this I hope uncensored comment.

pat

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JOReilly

It’s unfortunate that the two organizations seemingly are not able to harmonize their efforts. Perhaps one group can continue to work on paper maps and the other work on “Wayfinder” boards identifying local places of interest and businesses which had been discussed for inclusion in the new plazas at 46th and 40th Streets.

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Oil, Beef, Hooked

Even some of the board members aren’t aware of what the board is doing.

Not exactly the hallmark of a well run organization.

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Anonymous

So who is making these decisions for the chamber of commerce? It sounds like their board members had no idea that they’d be making their own map. Both board members quoted here, Fonte and Andres, had no idea – so who made this decision? And without checking in with the board? Strange.

Also, if both groups worked together on the first iteration of this map why would the CoC just decide to go it on their own without the simple courtesy of letting the BID know. I find that to be pretty sketchy. New leadership came in with a lot of talk about being more open and transparent, but their actions have not followed.

This organization is pretty flaky and doesn’t seem to have a great track record for projects – I hope their grant application is rejected and they reapply once they’ve successfully handled some smaller projects. It seems unconscionable to fork over more money, especially for a digital map, when they’ve not yet demonstrated more than a basic grasp of new media.

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Krissi

I think the map is very cute; I have one hanging on my fridge. It reminds me to go to places I haven’t been to in a while. But I hope there’s a way to get these into the hands of visitors – perhaps a little kiosk where a person can pick these up? I think it would be cleaner to do that on the stairs above the subway stops, but the actual entrances.

If I was getting off on a stop in another neighborhood I wasn’t too familiar with like, I’d likely pick one up out of the train station and read to to familiarize myself and pick where to have lunch or whatever.

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