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City Takes Steps to Acquire Former Phipps Playground for Public Park

Phipps Playground at 50-02 39th Ave.

Feb. 22, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

The city is at last starting up the acquisition process for the former Phipps playground, part of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is putting forth an application with the city to ultimately turn 50-02 39th Ave., the corner lot at 39th Avenue and 50th Street, into a community park. The site, measuring 10,000 square feet, is currently owned by DBH Associates, a private developer.

The application to the Department of City Planning will be jointly filed with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services for the site selection and acquisition of the parcel of land, a NYC Parks representative said at last night’s CB2 Land Use meeting.

The project must go through public review by way of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, where it will be reviewed by the community board, the Queens Borough president, and make its way to the city council, which could take until next year.

Once the application is certified for public review next week, the DCAS can begin to negotiate the purchase of the property with DBH.

Plans to turn the former playground to a city park were announced in late 2016 by Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who secured $3 million toward acquiring and renovating the site.

The site, purchased by DBH in 2007, saw a highly-unpopular plan in 2013 that included the installation of an aluminaire house and eight accompanying residential units there. The developer, however, was unsuccessful in moving the idea forward after the community board, local officials, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission shot down the project.

The former Phipps Playground, now vacant for about three decades, is one of the last depression-era playgrounds remaining citywide. The playground provided a park to the Phipps Housing Complex, and remnants of the old park, like a shed and swings, are still seen today.

The park, once it receives ULURP approval, will be designed by NYC Parks in conjunction with the community board and local stakeholders.

NYC Parks will return to the full community board in April to present its plans for the site.

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LIC Neighbor

Congrats: Other side of the boulevard will get a renovated park, the south side of the boulevard gets homeless shelters. Send us your tired, homeless, bag ladies yearning to live for free, don’t forget the free Yoga Classes, the nutritionist, drug counselors on site of the Fairmont Marriott on LIC scheduled to open on March 1, 2018.

Van Pooch

Any truth to the rumor that this plot will be renamed “Conley’s Corner” in honor of all the dirt swept under the CB 2 rug over the past several decades?


It is SO nice to read about something positive being planned, instead of simply more tall buildings!

Sally G

Since it is close the the apartments it should be a sitting park with benches and grass and trees, please NO BASKETBALL COURTS!

Selvin Gootar

This is what the majority of neighborhood residents have fought for. That former Phipps playground has been abandoned for over 20 years, and it’s an eyesore. We wanted a community park with benches where people can read a newspaper and drink coffee, where moms can bring their kids. A public park, with no yearly fee. Van Bramer listened to what residents of Sunnyside, Sunnyside Gardens, and Woodside wanted. He helped to push this project forward. It will take a while for the park to be completed (hopefully not years). I look forward to when it opens.


Maybe we can send all the drunk homeless people and all night druggies from Noonan park there. We on the forgotten southside of Sunnyside love to share.


That’s great, it would be nice to have more green space in Sunnyside. I hope they do not put a dog park there in a residential area like they did at the park on 43rd and Skillman. The dogs bark all day and night, one leaves another comes. My friend lives on 43rd and if the weather is nice there is constant barking.


Denna – You sound over sensitive. The dog park is actually on 42nd street, down in the park, well over a block a way from 43rd street.


People are as sensitive or insensitive as they are. There is no such thing as “too”sensitive. You are using your level of acuity as a benchmark, which is highly subjective.

Joe at Berkley

Nana- There most certainly is “such a thing as being “too” sensitive”. If a dog’s barking over a block away is upsetting to a person in an urban environment then you are”too” sensitive, plain and simple. WOW!!! Are you for real?

Harvey L Simon,MPA

As a resident of Building “F” in the Phipps Development, I am gratified of this great progress and achievement for the quality of life here. Many, many thanks to all participants, formal and informal. Your grateful neighbor, H.L. Simon, MPA


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