Best of 2007: The Designation of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District
As grassroots activists create new campaign and advocacy tactics, the preservation toolbox continues to grow. Yet official designation by the LPC still remains the preservationist’s holy grail, which is just one reason why the designation of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District makes our shortlist this year. Now the largest historic district in Queens, with over 620 residential structures, Sunnyside Gardens owes its designation to the unwavering support of preservation advocates, elected officials, and of course, its local neighborhood organization, the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance. Despite ongoing opposition from a small but vocal minority, the community remained focused and guided their designation through to the very end.
Of course, 2007 saw the successes of a number of other long-term preservation campaigns with the designations of the Crown Heights North (phase 1), DUMBO, and Eberhart Faber Pencil Company Historic Districts, as well as the designations of McCarren Pool and two federal row houses on Grand Street, among others, as individual landmarks. And though not an official city historic district yet, the proposed Fiske Terrace-Midwood Park neighborhood was finally heard in front of the commission and is awaiting designation. Send a statement of support for this district to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on these neighborhoods, visit our Neighborhood at Risk and click here to learn about HDC’s choices for the most significant “Heard but not Designated” structures (a list which has dwindled from twenty-one to twelve unprotected properties in only two years!).
LPC has taken an active approach to increasing the number of landmark designations over the past year, and a large number of them have occurred in the outer boroughs. This is thanks in large part to the commission’s increased budget, which allowed new survey staff members to be hired. In May, HDC joined with other preservation organizations throughout the city to hold a Preservation Lobby Day on the steps of city to rally to allocate an additional $1 million dollars to the LPC’s annual budget