Sunnyside Gardens, Queens
Sunnyside Gardens Historic District
A typical brick row house along 39th Avenue.
|Location:||Roughly bounded by Queens Blvd., 43rd and 52nd Sts. Barnett and Skillman Aves., New York, New York|
|Area:||53 acres (21 ha)|
|Architectural style:||Colonial Revival, Art Deco|
|Added to NRHP:||September 7, 1984|
Sunnyside Gardens is a community within Sunnyside, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. The area was one of the first developments to incorporate the "superblock" model in the United States. The complex was constructed from 1924 to 1929 by the New York City Housing Corporation, founded by developer Alexander Bing.
The residential area has brick row houses of two and a half stories, with front and rear gardens and a landscaped central court shared by all. This model allowed for denser residential development, while also providing ample open/green-space amenities. Clarence Stein and Henry Wright served as the architects and planners for this development, and the landscape architect was Marjorie Sewell Cautley. These well-planned garden homes are listed as a historical district in the National Register of Historic Places, and are also home to one of two private parks in New York City, the other being Gramercy Park.
The Sunnyside Gardens Historic District is a national historic district that includes 66 contributing buildings and 12 contributing sites. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
In 2003, a grassroots movement started to request designation as a New York City Historic District, in response to lack of protection for the historic character of the homes in the neighborhood. As of 2007 neighborhood arguments over whether to move the neighborhood into stricter regulation under the New York City Landmarks Commission is causing some contention in the neighborhood. On April 17, 2007, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing on the neighborhood; 60 residents and advocates, including Fiona Lowenstein, a descendant of Henry Wright spoke in favor of landmark designation while 25 people spoke against.
Although the neighborhood was landmarked at a public hearing on June 26, 2007, there was great opposition in the neighborhood as documented by the New York Times and New York Public Radio. According to the New York Times, Sunnyside Gardens is a “Pocket of Queens Brimming with History and Now Resentment”. The controversy about how best to preserve the neighborhood, included a debate about preserving the historic community diversity vs. just the facades of the buildings which is the main regulation of landmarking. This was documented on New York Public Radio in a segment called "Cloud Over Sunnyside?".
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "Sunnyside" on Forgotten NY Neighborhoods
- Vitullo-Martin, Julia (2005-07-07). "A Pioneering Queens Garden Community Flourishes Anew". New York Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
- Merrill Hesch (August 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Sunnyside Gardens Historic District". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-01-16. See also: "Accompanying 24 photos".
- Barry, Ellen (2007-07-05). "A Pocket of Queens Brimming With History, and Now Resentment". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
- Cloud over Sunnyside? (WNYC FM 93.9/AM 820; The Brian Lehrer Show, March 7, 2007)
- A Fact Sheet for Residents from the NYC Department of City Planning, Queens Office dated June 2002
- Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce - History
- WNET Channel 13 profile of Sunnyside Gardens
- July 23, 2003 Article about Landmarks Meeting
- Sunnyside Post, news site that covers events in Sunnyside and Sunnyside Gardens
- Queens Buzz Sunnyside Queens cultural web magazine