For Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, this means it’s time to start putting the plazas under two 7 train stations to use.
Sunnyside Shines hosted its first “Spring Into the Plazas” event last Friday at Lowery Plaza on 40th Street and Queens Boulevard. Thieme brought a human-sized chessboard and pieces, a large Connect-4 game and a beanbag toss to the plaza.
As students began to play the games on the public space, hundreds of people passing by stopped to watch and even take photos.
“What could be easier and more fun than setting up some giant games and making everything free and seeing what happens?” Thieme said. “I didn’t expect this to be a half-day for high schoolers, but it turned out that way, so it’s great to see.”
The event is part of what Thieme calls an “activation series” that will run from March until June. Each Friday, Sunnyside Shines will host activities such as games, dance lessons or art demonstrations in either Lowery Plaza or Bliss Plaza, located at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard.
“We want to encourage people to come back, check us out, check out our event calendar online,” Thieme said. “We expect this to be something for people who live in the neighborhood, for the most part, people walking by.”
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer stopped by to chat and play a game of chess. He provided funding for Spring into the Plazas, and Thieme couldn’t be more happy about the support.
Sunnyside Shines recently gave Van Bramer a “Neighborhood Visionary Award” for his work in the community.
“He’s been a huge supporter of ours,” she said. “He’s increased funding to our organization every single year.”