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Queens Chronicle

DOT approves two plazas in Sunnyside

Business Improvement District to bring more color to neighborhood

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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:30 am

Sunnyside is about to shine a bit brighter after it was announced on April 11 that two new public plazas are set to come to the neighborhood through the Department of Transportation’s NYC Plaza Program.

Last year, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District submitted an application to the plaza program with the support of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who was eager to bring more plazas to the area.

The application had broad support, with 13 letters sent from elected officials, business owners, property owners, residents and community organizations, backing the proposal.

Earlier this month, the BID was notified that the application was accepted.

“The NYC Plaza Program has done a tremendous job creating new usable, public spaces throughout the city, and we are thrilled to bring this innovative program to Sunnyside,” Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, said. “We’re looking forward to making these spaces more vibrant public places in the neighborhood.”

Both plazas will be located along Queens Boulevard under the elevated No. 7 train, at 40th Street and 46th Street.

As part of the DOT program, both spaces will receive improvements that include planters, benches and movable tables and chairs to transform them into public gathering places.

“Through this innovative program, we will expand the amount of public space that is available to everyone in the community,” Van Bramer, the majority leader, said. “I am proud that we were able to successfully secure not one, but two public plazas for Sunnyside.”

Sunnyside Shines will maintain both spaces and program community events and activities during the year.

“It is wonderful that Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District will have neighborhood plazas in the community,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said. “It will allow them to take advantage of an underutilized space to further enhance their vision for a more vibrant community. It is also a reflection of the great work that Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District is doing to revitalize the community.”

In an effort to get the ball rolling, Sunnyside Shines will host a community outreach meeting to discuss design and program options on April 30 at 6:30 at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-13 39 St. All are invited to attend.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) said the new plazas will do well to promote the Sunnyside area as a place to live and visit.

“Sunnyside Shines’ inclusion in the city’s Public Plaza Program is not only a sign of how much the BID has done to make our community an even more vibrant place, it is also a reflection of Sunnyside’s growth into a destination neighborhood,” he said. “As more and more New Yorkers come to know Sunnyside as a great place to live, work and play, I’m sure exciting announcements like the forthcoming public plazas will keep on coming.”

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