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Sunnyside BID’s director turns in his resignation

TimesLedger Newspapers

The executive director for the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District has handed in his resignation and will leave the position Sept. 14, the chairman of the BID’s board of directors said.

Chairman John Vogt said Executive Director James Bray, who has recently moved near Edison, N.J., had decided to leave the position in part due to the grueling commute to Sunnyside.

“He just thought it was time for him to move on to something else,” Vogt said. “Hate to see him go, though, because he was definitely an asset.”

Bray had been hired as executive director for the BID in 2010, although his college majors — marketing and computer science — were not an exact match for the job.

“Even when we hired him we thought we’d get about two years,” Vogt said.

He said the BID has been getting multiple applications for a new executive director and they will be going through them soon.

The Sunnyside Shines BID, whose offices are at 45-56 43rd St., was signed into law in 2007 but officially kicked off in 2008. The BID’s borders include Queens Boulevard from 38th to 49th streets, Greenpoint Avenue from 43rd to 48th streets and Roosevelt Avenue between 48th and 49th streets.

Vogt, who is the regional director for the fast food chain White Castle and runs the restaurant at 43-02 Queens Blvd., said the BID’s original mission was to keep the commercial districts in the neighborhood clean and near 100 percent occupancy.

Since then the BID has also done some beautification in the neighborhood, like hanging up flowers on the district’s light poles and putting up lights for the winter holiday season, but it also runs many events on the commercial strip.

One of its most popular is the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Concert, held every August on 46th Street in honor of the native 1920s jazz musician. The BID’s next event will be the third annual Taste of Sunnyside, a showcase for restaurants in the neighborhood to be held Oct. 15 at Sunnyside Community Services, at 43-31 39th St.

Vogt said in the future the BID is planning an enhancement of Sunnyside that will include installing street furniture, street lamps and an informational kiosk.

“It will be an ambitious project, but when it’s done it’ll really make Sunnyside the spot it’s supposed to be,” Vogt said. “The gem of Queens, if you will.”

Vogt encouraged more business owners and residents to volunteer and get involved.

For more information, visit sunnysideshines.org.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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