By Benjamin Fang
The iconic Sunnyside Arch on Queens Boulevard and 46th Street will shine even brighter than before.
The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) and local business owners last month announced the neighborhood sign will be upgraded with new lighting. A $15,000 investment from Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office will fund the project.
The arch, which was built by a local civic organization in 1983, has had trouble with its lights. Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of the BID, said the current lights are outdated. The BID will oversee the replacement of the analog system with a digital LED light system.
Faye-Bean said they will also replace the backlighting of the letters, which is currently in neon, to LED lighting.
“Economically, it’s much more energy efficient and it’s cheaper in terms of installing and maintaining it,” she said.
John Vogt, chairman of the Sunnyside Shines BID, said he sees Sunnyside and the arch as a “gateway to Queens.” It’s not only a central meeting point in the neighborhood, but also an attraction for visitors.
“Sunnyside is a diverse community, and this bridges the entire community together,” he said.
Czarinna Andres, owner of Bing’s Gifts on Greenpoint Avenue, said the arch has symbolized the community’s unity and strength. Her shop sells Sunnyside merchandise, which is indicative of her love for the neighborhood where she lives and work.
Andres, who sees the arch several times a day, said she’s looking forward to the lighting changes.
“I think the excitement that this will generate, especially during the holidays, is going to be great for all of the businesses in the neighborhood,” she said.