Western Queens organizers create local businesses
source map to help residents determine ‘Who’s Open??’
Screenshot of “Who’s Open??” Google Map
Western Queens local business source map, or “Who’s Open??, created by Sunnyside Shines BID, Astoria Together and Sunnyside Gardens Park.
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Sunnyside Shines Business
Improvement District, Astoria Together
and Sunnyside Gardens Park joined forces
to create a western Queens local business
source map, or “Who’s Open??,” which is
tracking 250 businesses and counting.
Th e local organizations created the map
to provide real-time updates on business
hours and services that have been dramatically
impacted by Governor Andrew
Cuomo’s PAUSE executive order.
“Th is is a sensible way to organize our
neighborhood and amplify the businesses
that are still prepping the food, pouring
the coff ee, off ering dinner and drinks to
go, and making their local products available
for the rest of us,” said Alan Baglia,
Queens source map founder and organizer.
“So many of us are home and following
state guidelines to fl atten the curve.
Little things like keeping daily habits and
ordering from our favorite places will play
a role in helping us all get through this. It
is time more than ever to support the local
business and the workers that are essential
to our community.”
Th e listing was created by Sunnyside
Shines BID immediately aft er the executive
order was enacted, with a focus on
Greenpoint Avenue, Queens Boulevard
and areas south of Queens Boulevard.
Th e initial data was then transferred to
Google’s My Maps feature and expanded
to include the Sunnyside business districts
of 43rd Avenue, Skillman Avenue,
as well as parts of Woodside, Astoria and
Long Island City.
In less than a week, “Who’s Open??” is
tracking more than 250 businesses.
Th ese businesses include grocery stores,
corner markets, laundromats, bike repair
shops, takeout and delivery options, as
well as other essential services including
emergency childcare for fi rst responders
at Little Friends Schools in Long Island
City. Th e map also points to a variety of
staff solicitations via GoFundMe for fi tness
studios as well as bars and restaurants,
including Tone Pilates in Astoria,
Suryaside in Sunnyside, and Solid State in
Woodside, among others.
Some entries even list job opportunities,
such as Food Bazaar located on Northern
Sunnyside Gardens Park is also hosting
the map on their website.
“We’re thrilled to host the map on
our site and promote in our newsletters
and social media,” Paul Roer, current
Sunnyside Gardens Park board president,
said. “Our local businesses are the cornerstone
of our community and we want to
do everything we can to support them as
we all get through this situation together.”
Users can search “Who’s Open??” by
entering specifi c businesses by name or
broaden searches with simple keywords
like “pizza,” “wine,” “market” or “staff fund.”
Keywords are being added regularly to
strengthen the search feature of the map.
Th e map creators want to stress that
the platform is constantly evolving and
being fact-checked. Business decisions are
day-to-day, and to avoid any doubt, they
advise others to always call the businesses
themselves with the phone numbers
and social media information provided
in the listing.
Th e organizers credit Instagram and
Facebook pages as great sources for businesses
ever-changing information at this
time. Th ey note that walking the neighborhoods
for direct visits from a safe distance
as well as phone calls to confi rm
hours and services have been essential
tools in this unusual time.
Hand-lettered signs serve as primary
communication for dozens of small businesses,
and the map brings that information
to the greater public.
While many businesses have listed
delivery apps among their available services,
the map creators are urging customers
to fi rst try to order directly from
businesses and use the delivery apps as a
“Some of the apps have announced
they will defer fees to businesses, but this
just means the fees will be passed on to
the businesses down the road when they
are struggling to dig out from this,” said
Jaime-Faye Bean, director of Sunnyside
In time, the developers hope to include
more Queens neighborhoods, such as
Hunters Point and Jackson Heights.
Th e organizers are in discussion with
Edible Queens to broaden the map and
expand the platform’s distribution. In the
East Village, community organizers are
patterning off of the Queens source map
in an eff ort to promote their own businesses.
Th ey hope similar maps will trend elsewhere
and give a lift to other neighborhoods
Th e ultimate goal is that the “partial closure”
maps will soon end — but for the
time being, they want to be a source of
information and innovative promotion
for their communities.
Th ey are encouraging anyone with
consumer tips, corrections, additions
for the western Queens source map, or
to set up additional neighborhood collaborations
to contact them by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media
by direct messaging Baglia at @alanbaglia
on Instagram and Twitter and Sunnyside
Shines BID at @sunnysideshines.
Baglia added that “Who’s Open??” early
working title, “Hey-19,” alludes to the
Steely Dan song by the same name, with
lyrics that are reminiscent of the current
social distancing measures: “Hey, 19 / No,
we can’t dance together (We can’t dance
together) / No, we can’t talk at all / Please
take me along when you slide on down.”