Sunnyside Passes City Council Subcommittee Vote

Direct from City Council:

CITY HALL – The subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses, chaired by Council Member Jessica Lappin, today recommended landmark status for the historic
neighborhood of Sunnyside Gardens in Queens. One of the most significant planned residential communities in New York City, Sunnyside Gardens has achieved national and international recognition for its low-rise, low density housing arranged around landscaped open courtyards. The measure, which passed the full subcommittee by a vote of 9 to 0, will create the largest historic district in Queens.

Sunnyside Gardens was the first attempt of the Regional Planning Association of America to create a garden city. The RPAA believed they could create a physical solution to the congestion and large population density that defined many other areas of the City. Sunnyside Gardens is a unique example of a working-class neighborhood that embraces open space and green terrain. From the very beginning, the neighborhood represented a fundamental change in the way cities were developed.

“Sunnyside Gardens was a model for innovative urban development when it was created a half century ago, and it deserves to be preserved,” said Chair of the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses, Jessica Lappin. “This beautiful community that celebrates green open space is a prime example of urban development at its best.”

In addition, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will issue the first ever homeowners guide about just what the landmarking will entail to alleviate any concerns that residents might have regarding the new status of their neighborhood. Upon its release, the guide will entail the different rules that come along with the new designation, including what level of review is necessary for different types of maintenance or renovation work a homeowner might wish to undertake. It will also make it easier for homeowners to plan desirable alteration that will ensure that the character of the neighborhood remains intact.

“Landmarking the neighborhood of Sunnyside Gardens is a fitting tribute both to the past and to the future of our city,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “In an era when we are trying to make our city a greener place to live, we must do what we can to preserve a place that had such arevolutionary impact on our open space. I want to thank Council Members Lappin and Katz for their work on this issue.”

“Everyone who visits or lives in the Gardens immediately realizes what a special place it is. With its tree-lined streets and beautiful open spaces, it is an oasis in the midst of the City. Like many, I’ve always loved this neighborhood, and am proud to call it home and to represent it on the City Council,” said Councilman Eric Gioia. “Working together, we have reached a decision that will help guarantee that Sunnyside Gardens retains its unique character and charm for generations to come.”

“I commend the Landmarks Preservation Commission for moving this Queens Historic District forward and for drafting rules particular to the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District,” said Land Use Committee Chair Melinda Katz. “This designation will preserve and protect this beautiful oasis for years to come.”

Posted Under: City Council, Designation, Queens, Sunnyside Gardens

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