Curbed recently took a look at the history of Sunnyside Gardens, one of our favorite parts of Queens. The story looks at the ideals and ideas behind the planning of the neighborhood and how the community has fared since it was built between 1924 and 1928. The 1,200 units were built on 12 courts on 77 acres of land. But at heart of the project was open space, communal gardens, areas for residents to use together. The planners were heavily influenced by Ebenezer Howard’s garden cities movement which called for homes to be surrounded by greenbelts. According to the article, “construction made up 28 percent of the site, leaving the remainder for communal open space. Brick row houses, a majority of the units, were arranged on superblocks and built in the Colonial Revival or Art Deco styles, featuring a variety of setbacks and rooflines for visual interest.” The community was home to middle class workers for generations. However in the 1960s, owners began chopping up the communal gardens with fences and making curb cuts for cars. If it wasn’t for the Sunnyside Foundation, which worked to undo many of those changes, this prized Queens community might be very different today.
Photo: LPC via City Land