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Holiday spirit convenes under Sunnyside Arch for lighting ceremony

Dancers from the Sunnyside Ballet Studio performed pieces from the Nutcracker. (Photo by Iryna Shkurhan)

Nov. 20, 2023 By Iryna Shkurhan

Hundreds of locals of all ages gathered underneath the Sunnyside Arch for a holiday lighting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 17. 

The festive event, which put forward performances from Sunnyside Ballet Studio and Sunnyside Drum Corps, was organized by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District. Vendors along 46th St. sold hot chocolate and elote while Christmas carolers belted away holiday classics. 

The Sunnyside Dump Corp were the first performers of the night. Photo by Iryna Shkurhan

The holiday lights along Queens Boulevard spanning from 38th Street to 50th Street, along with several blocks on Greenpoint Avenue, were already lit up ahead of the event. But following a collective countdown, the snowflake lights on 46th Street between Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue were turned on as the final addition to the display. 

“They’re beautiful, and we’re very glad to bring them to you every year,” said Dirk McCall de Palomá, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “And we’re trying to find ways to make them even bigger and better.”

Santa Clause came to Sunnyside early this year. Photo by Iryna Shkurhan

Members of the Sunnyside Ballet Studio performed several dances from the Nutcracker. They are gearing up for their performance at Queens Theatre on Dec. 17. 

Council Member Julie Won also attended the event with her husband and son, whom McCall de Palomá referred to as the “first baby of the district” in his remarks. 

Dirk McCall de Palama, Executive Director of Sunnyside Shines, led the event. Photo by Iryna Shkurhan

Won announced that over 2,000 turkeys were distributed to NYCHA residents in District 26, which includes the Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Woodside Houses. They also served over 2,000 hot traditional Thanksgiving meals to NYCHA residents, as well as new migrants residing in nearby shelters for their first Thanksgiving in the United States.

“When we think of the holidays, we think of community and we think of how resilient we’ve been,” said Shyvonne Noboa, associate executive director of Older Adult Services at Sunnyside Community Services. “And sometimes when the world can seem chaotic, we can lean on each other.” 

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