Sunnyside Chamber Welcomes BID Director
This month's Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce luncheon occurred a day after the state assembly declined even to vote on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan, thus stifling it and denying the city federal funds that were contingent on its passage in the state legislature. At the luncheon site, Dazies restaurant on Queens Boulevard, opinions differed about congestion pricing as the attendees got around to the main business on the schedule, welcoming Glenn Yule as director of the Sunnyside Business Improvement District (BID).
Chamber President John Vogt was the leader in the lengthy and arduous campaign to establish a BID in Sunnyside, but he was careful to stress that while he expects the BID and the chamber to work cooperatively, they are truly separate organizations. Still, as the man with so far the most experience with the BID, he had to point out again that its limits are on Queens Boulevard between 38th and 50th Streets and Greenpoint Avenue between 42nd and 50th Streets, and explain other things. He said that a man at the north end of the BID was reluctant to join and finally had to be left out, but everyone within the BID's limits is perforce a member, since there is no "leapfrogging". On the other hand, he said, there are some merchants outside the limits who would like to be in but cannot be, short of BID expansion.
Glenn Yule said that he was on the police force for 21 and a half years; and that 10 of the 15 years spent in the 108th Precinct and Patrol Borough Queens North were devoted to community relations. He said that as he begins his tenure as Sunnyside BID director, sanitation is the first priority, and would involve employing DOE Fund workers. He spoke of food and merchandise vendors on the streets or under the No. 7 viaduct, about which he has inevitably heard complaints. He said he intends to keep them informed to the letter about laws and regulations they are obliged to follow.
Mention of a fruit and vegetables vendor under the viaduct at 40th Street led to a general discussion about the Department of Transportation's closing of the roadway under the viaduct (it is now blocked by bollards), cutting off the north side of Queens Boulevard from the south side at that point.
The discontinued road at 40th Street, in addition to the long-closed roadway under the viaduct at 46th Street, has helped to further creation of the Great Wall of Sunnyside, said Vogt. He said that during the past 35 years he has watched DOT succeed in what he called its plan to make the south side of Queens Boulevard a "breezeway" of cars rapidly escaping Manhattan, most of them headed a considerable distance into Long Island. Debbie Markell-Kleinert, district manager of Community Board 2, said DOT has treated Queens Boulevard uniformly from about Main Street in Briarwood to Van Dam Street in Long Island City, with no consideration of the qualities of the neighborhoods to either side of it.
There were some announcements and a memorial appreciation. Jay Cruz, executive director of the Long Island City YMCA, was introduced and said next year marks the 90th anniversary of the LIC branch.
Also introduced was Christopher Dorrian, the new director of community revitalization at Small Business Services. He succeeds the highly regarded Joyce Coward.