10/28/14 1:00pm


The term “pumpkin smashing” often conjures up images of vandals roaming residential streets, taking gourds from front lawns, and breaking them on driveways and sidewalks. Usually the result is nothing more than a seedy, squishy mess. However in Sunnyside this Saturday, individuals will be able to perform similar acts of aggression and destruction in a productive, dignified manner, thanks to the NYC Compost Project. Bring unwanted pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns to Torsney Playground, and the city will use the wrecked results to rebuild soil in parks around the five boroughs.

Details: Pumpkin Smash 2014, Sunnyside Greenmarket, Tornsey Playground, vicinity of 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside, November 1st, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, free and refreshments will be served while supplies last.

10/27/14 12:00pm


This one-bedroom unit is located in the Celtic Park co-op development in Sunnyside. It’s got a beautiful eat-in kitchen, which the listing tries to highlight through a number of photographs. The rest of the apartment is hard to hate, either; it looks well maintained and well-sized for a one bedroom. The asking price is $218,000 with a monthly maintenance of $724. Do you like this unit as much as we do?

48-25 43rd Street, #6H [Welcome Home Real Estate] GMAP

10/24/14 4:00pm


Today local pols, the Department of Transportation, Sunnyside Shines and Community Board Two cut the ribbon on Sunnyside’s second public plaza to open this year. Lowery Plaza, located at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard under the elevated 7, now features plantings, tables and chairs. In the future, Sunnyside Shines will host neighborhood performances and programming here.

Not far away, Bliss Plaza opened this summer at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. It’s a similar design with new, leveled concrete, tables and chairs, granite blocks and planters.

Second Sunnyside Plaza Will Open This Friday [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Jimmy Van Bramer’s Twitter

10/24/14 10:00am


Development over Sunnyside Yards may not just be something people vaguely talk about every few years. Capital New York reports that Amtrak is considering development, and may seek out investors by next spring for building opportunities. Amtrak executives have also discussed the possibility with Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo, with a spokesman for the mayor saying the site could potentially accommodate de Blasio’s affordable housing initiative.

Of course, there are still a lot of “what ifs.” Amtrak is evaluating many of its properties and isn’t looking to develop right away, instead seeking out partners to work on development strategies. And it’s still unclear how, exactly, development would look over the sprawling 167 acres of rail yards — any building strategy will be extremely complex and also require collaboration with the MTA. But as Capital says, “Still, the chairman’s comments were by far the most aggressive made on the topic by an executive at the company and were read as a significant moment for those thinking about the potential the Sunnyside Yards hold.”

Amtrak Weighing Development of Massive Queens Rail Yard [Capital New York]
Feasibility Study Urged for Sunnyside Yards Development [Q'Stoner]

Photo by Mitch Waxman

10/23/14 4:00pm


This month, Sunnyside Gardens turned 90 years old and this weekend the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance is celebrating. On Saturday, October 25th the Alliance plans to unveil three historic district signs displaying maps of the full neighborhood and then throw a birthday reception. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will kick off the event, beginning at 1 pm on Skillman Avenue and 46th Street. The first map will be unveiled there, then Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan will unveil a sign on 47th Street and Assemblywoman Margaret Markey will unveil a sign in front of Sunnyside Park. Borough President Melinda Katz and Landmarks Preservation Foundation Chair Christina Davis will also be in attendance. The stroll through Colonial Court should wrap around 2 pm with a birthday reception. All the details, plus some history on the innovative housing complex, live here.

Photo via the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance

10/23/14 10:00am


Lowery Plaza, a proposed public plaza underneath the 40th Street subway station in Sunnyside, will open up tomorrow. Sunnyside Post spotted workers in the space removing an artist commission previously on display there. Next up is a power washing job, then finally setting up planters, tables and chairs. The Lowery Plaza will look much like Bliss Plaza (pictured above), which opened this summer at 46th Street. The Lowery Plaza was also scheduled to open this summer, but according to Sunnyside Post the DOT had a contract to keep the artist commission up until October.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place here tomorrow at 1 pm. Once open, Sunnyside Shines will be in charge of programming and upkeep of the plaza, just like the organization has been doing at Bliss Plaza.

Artwork Under 40th Street Station is Removed — to Make Room for 40th Street/Lowery Plaza [Sunnyside Post]

Photo of Bliss Plaza via Sunnyside Shines Instagram

10/14/14 11:00am

Queens Boulevard in the mid-1910s

Sunnyside Gardens, in northwest Queens, was the creation of architects Clarence Stein and Henry Wright and the City Housing Corporation led by developer Alexander Bing. Constructed between 1924 and 1928, it consists of a series of “courts” (composed of rows of townhouses and small apartment buildings) built on all or part of sixteen blocks, a total of more than 600 buildings. The designated area also includes the Phipps Gardens apartment buildings, constructed in the early 1930s, and Sunnyside Gardens Park, one of two officially private parks remaining in New York City (the other is Gramercy Park in Manhattan).

The large complex is one of the most significant planned residential communities in New York City and has acheived nagtional and international recognition for its low-rise, low density housing arranged around landscaped open courtyards.

In the early years of the Great Depression, nearly 60 percent of Sunnyside Gardens’ residents lost their homes to foreclosure. Those difficult years saw organized resistance by residents who forcefully opposed efforts by city marshals to evict families. The character of Sunnyside Gardens was protected by 40-year easements which assured the integrity of the courtyards and common walkways and controlled changes to the exterior of every property, extending even to paint color.

From the 1940s through the mid-1960s, young families and artists moved to Sunnyside from more crowded parts of the city. Well-known residents of that period included Rudy Vallee, Judy Holliday and Perry Como and a young James Caan.

On June 26, 2007, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the community. Before designation, there was considerable illegal or inappropriate work done on the Gardens’ houses. Since designation, the district is returning to its original character.


10/08/14 1:00pm


Would you like to see how the Bowne House Restoration is proceeding? Or how about checking out the Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam, which is also known as the Hindu Temple Society of North America or the Bowne Street Temple? What about the TWA Flight Center, Smiling HogsHead Ranch, LIC Community BoathouseLouis Armstrong House Museum, Noguchi, and the newly renovated SculptureCenter?

The 12th annual Open House New York Weekend will take place this Saturday and Sunday, and there are 36 listed nook and crannies to explore in Queens (although tours are starting to sell out…so hurry!)


10/07/14 9:00am


Every once in awhile, an ambitious plan is floated to “deck over” the Sunnyside Yards and develop right over it. Well, it looks like we’ve got another one of those plans — or at least a proposal — on our hands. Queens Courier shares that at a recent board meeting, Community Board 2 approved a motion to ask Borough President Katz for a feasibility study on decking the yards and developing on top of it. While Board Chair Joseph Conley brought the issue up for a vote, there are no specifics whatsoever about the plan — the goal is just to start a dialogue. As Queens Courier puts it, “Conley reasoned that it would be good to explore the ability to use the space, especially for affordable housing, as land prices continue to shoot upward in nearby communities such as Long Island City.”

Some board members didn’t want more housing — which requires more public services and infrastructure — for the area. Others want to explore possibilities of a hospital, affordable housing, school or public space there. Here’s a technical analysis complied by the former Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel Doctoroff in regards to future development.

Queensicans, think it’ll ever happen?

Sunnyside Yards Development Back in Discussion with Possible Study [Queens Courier]

Photo by Mitch Waxman

10/03/14 11:00am


The Big Six Towers, Queens Boulevard between 59th and 61st Streets, were developed, like Electchester in Flushing, by a trade union. In 1961 the New York Typographical Union (Local 6) completed the project in 1963 and one-third of its current tenants are active or retired union members. The AFL-CIO invested heavily in the towers in 2008 to help keep its apartments affordable for middle-class families. There are still some retired lithographers and printers among the residents.


While other large residential developments have joined the Big Six Towers on this stretch of Queens Boulevard, the small terra cotta former Childs’ restaurant outlet holds firm on the NW corner of 60th Street. The building hosts a laundromat, bodega, Irish bar and pizza parlor on the ground floor.