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John Vogt, chairman of Sunnyside BID and longtime Queens champion, passes away

John Vogt, who passed away last week, at the Taste of Sunnyside in 2016 Photo: Michael Rapp

Feb. 20, 2023 By Christian Murray

John Vogt, chairman of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (Sunnyside Shines BID) and long-time neighborhood champion, died last week. He was 66.

Vogt, who was born and raised in Jackson Heights, played a significant role in promoting Sunnyside as a business and restaurant destination for several decades. For most of his career, he was an executive at White Castle—and was the New York regional manager based in Woodside before he retired in 2014.

He played a major role in the formation of the Sunnyside BID that was established in 2007. At the time of its creation, he was the president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

Vogt was appointed chairman of the BID when it was established, a voluntary role that he held until his death. In that position, he was instrumental in organizing popular neighborhood events such as the Taste of Sunnyside.

Dirk McCall de Palomá, the executive Director of Sunnyside Shines BID, said Vogt’s passing is a big loss to the community.

“John Vogt was an amazing man, a wonderful human being, and a great leader.  He gave of himself to Sunnyside for decades, serving in a number of roles, always working to improve the community,” McCall de Palomá said. “He fought hard to bring resources to Sunnyside, to beautify the neighborhood, to promote our small businesses, and to make sure Sunnyside Shined.”

Vogt started his career at the now-shuttered White Castle location at 88-08 Northern Blvd. location in 1970 as a janitor. He spent his career at the company and eventually oversaw the locations throughout Queens as well as the New York region.

In 1999, Vogt—who was proud of his Queens heritage and extensive knowledge of the borough—moved to Lindenhurst, Long Island with his family.

Vogt was also involved in charitable work on Long Island, where he was a member of local clubs such as the Copiague Kiwanis and the American Venice Civic Association.

Vogt, who had been battling cancer for the past two years, is survived by his wife of 33 years, Candida, and his children Nicole, Robert and Emily.

The American Venice Association issued a statement following his death, noting “his passion for his community was second to none.”

There will be a memorial service held on Feb. 28 from 5pm-9pm at the Massapequa Funeral Home located at 4980 Merrick Rd. Massapequa Park.

His family requests that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in John Vogt’s memory to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research.

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