Sunnyside, Queens (History)

(Neighborhoods In Queens)

neighborhoods_queens_sunnyside_300x300Sunnyside is a middle-class and commercial neighborhood in the Western portion of the New York City borough of Queens. It shares borders with Hunters Point and Long Island City to the west, Astoria to the north, Woodside to the east and Maspeth to the south. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community District 2, served by Queens Community Board 2.

The land was originally owned by French settlers in the 1800s. The name “Sunnyside” is derived from Sunnyside Hill Farms, so named by the Bragraws family who owned the land.Sunnyside was a rural hamlet mostly consisting of small farms and marshland. It was incorporated into Long Island City in 1870, and developed into a bedroom community after the Queensboro Bridge was completed in 1909. A large portion of the neighborhood is six-story apartment buildings constructed during the 1920s and ’30s.

 

HISTORY

The area was first development in the United States patterned after the ideas of the garden city movement initiated in England in the first decades of the twentieth century by Ebenezer Howard and Raymond Unwin, specifically Hampstead Garden Suburb and Letchworth Garden City. Covering 77 acres between Queens Boulevard and the Sunnyside Railroad Yards, Sunnyside Gardens was constructed between 1924 to 1928 by the City Housing Corporation, founded by developer Alexander Bing, and architects Clarence Stein and Henry Wright. The project grew out of discussions in the early 1920s about housing and planning; Lewis Mumford was a leading participant.

In the early years of the Great Depression, nearly 60 percent of the residents lost their homes to foreclosure.Those difficult years saw organized resistance by residents who forcefully resisted efforts by city marshals to evict families. The character of Sunnyside Gardens was protected by 40-year easements which protected the integrity of the courtyards and common walkways and controlled changes to the exterior of every property, extending to even paint color. Those covenants lapsed in the mid-1960s, and some homeowners rushed to claim their property, erecting fences into the middle of some courtyards. In response, in 1974 the Department of City Planning designated Sunnyside Gardens a special planned community preservation district, together with Fresh Meadows, Parkchester, and the Harlem River Houses. With that designation came rules protecting the inner courts and landscaping, and prohibiting driveways and curbcuts, rear sheds, and additions.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Ethnicities of Sunnyside’s residents include those of Latin American (Colombians, Ecuadorians, Dominican, Salvadorans and Puerto Rican), Jewish, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan, Nepali, Indian, Albanian, Bangladeshi, Greek, Irish, Italian, Turkish, Armenian, and Romanian ancestry. Sunnyside is 48.0% White, 28.0% Hispanic/Latino (of any race), 24.0% Asian.

The median income for Sunnyside is $37,962 USD. There are 14,798 females and 14,708 males currently residing in Sunnyside.