The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District Board of Directors Chairman John Vogt said, “We wanted something that reflected the neighborhood with a little whimsical flair.”
That’s exactly what the BID and Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce got when they teamed with LaGuardia Community College’s art department to create maps of the area.
For the last five months students have wandered the neighborhood sketching and taking photos. They were required to include landmarks such as Torsney Park, Sunnyside’s iconic arch, schools and roadways.
They then set to work for a prize, which the college announced on Tuesday.
Carmen Zhu won the $1,000 first prize, Adina Partoi the $500 second prize and Miho Nozawa the $250 third prize.
“I am 35 with two kids so going back to study art and getting to this level in the competition was a big a deal,” said Partoi, adding that she now knows her home neighborhood like the back of her hand.
Partoi’s map uses bold blues, yellows and greens — “It’s just sunny like Sunnyside,” she said. She also wrote throughout the blocks “welcome” in the many different languages spoken in the neighborhood.
Zhu’s map brings added attention to Sunnyside Gardens and the greenery of the area. The map starts with green blocks at the top and slowly changes to beige as the streets go from residential to more commercial where the neighborhood meets the Brooklyn Queens Expressway ramp.
Zhu wrote “Sunnyside” using flowers as the letters. Other submissions played with the Sunnyside name, such as by using a sunnyside-up egg as a logo.
The third-place winner thought more graphically when designing the map by employing thick marker lines, clear No. 7 train logos and a giant stylized Sunnyside arch emerging from the center.
“It was a great opportunity to get the real-world experience of working for a patron,” LGCC Assistant Humanities Professor Hugo Fernandez said of the project.
Advertisements will ring the edge of the final map. The BID sold these squares to cover all costs of printing and prizes.
A graphic designer is working with Zhu’s map to make sure the streets and business names sit in the right places and will lead those not familiar with Sunnyside to where they need to go. Finished maps will go to hotels and businesses in the area.
All three original maps will be framed and hung in the Sunnyside Shines office.
Several years ago Vogt, regional director of restaurant operations at White Castle, who also served on the LGCC board, gave the art department heaps of hamburger boxes for a project.
“We were amazed and impressed,” Vogt said.
One student created an elaborate castle with flying buttresses and all, and another student made a dress by tie-dying the white cardboard.
When the BID and Chamber of Commerce starting brainstorming a project to bring more people to Sunnyside, Vogt thought of the college.
“This is a cohesive, collective effort that truly exemplifies the neighborhood,” Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce President Swain Weiner said.