You are reading

De Blasio’s Sunnyside Yards Plan Might Result in 70,000 Units Being Built on Top of Tracks


Photo Courtesy: NYCEDC

Feb. 12, 2015 By Christian Murray

Seventy thousand units might need to be constructed over Sunnyside Yards if the Mayor’s plan to build 11,250 affordable units over the tracks is to be realized.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told members of the Hunters Point Civic Association on Tuesday that 70,000 to 80,000 units might need to be built in order to attract developers to construct the affordable units.

“To get to the 11,200-odd…the number of units could be as high as 70,000 to 80,000 on Sunnyside Yards,” Van Bramer said, since developers typically require market rate apartments to offset the cost of constructing affordable units.

This would result in “a massive, massive development on the scale we have never seen before in western Queens that will affect Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside,” he said.

However, he said no plan should move forward that doesn’t address the needs of the existing residents.

“We can’t fit people on the 7 train today, we don’t have enough school seats for our children today, we don’t have enough green space in western Queens today [excluding Astoria Park and the waterfront in Hunters Point],” he said.

“Adding 100,000 more people to our community is staggering,” he said.”The No. 7 train will not be able to house them all,” he added. “That is crazy.”

In addition to the proposed Sunnyside Yards development, the city is also proposing a rezoning of the Queens Plaza, Jackson Avenue and Northern Blvd corridor. The potential up zoning would result in a significant increase in population– as the zoning change would most likely make way for bigger buildings since the city will be mandating affordable units.

Van Bramer, who represents 160,000 constituents, told the group: “I won’t go along with any plan that hurts our community. You know me I was born and raised here. I have your back and nothing is going to happen without involving everyone in this room.”

Brent O’Leary, the president of the Hunters Point Civic Association who is also legal compliance counsel at Bloomberg LP, said after the meeting that he was not surprised by Van Bramer’s 70,000-unit projection for Sunnyside Yards.

“The city will get a developer to build them and manage them [the affordable units]—and in return the developer will want to build as many market rate units as possible.”

He said his group is opposed building on the Yards, calling for more green space. “We don’t have the infrastructure we need as it is.”

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 
Patricia Dorfman

other nyc areas protest same sort of developments…the mayor may mean well, but it comes down to a turf war – big money people or those who need them against small biz and residents who know it will hurt them

“The protests have reached a boiling point in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, on the southeast side of Prospect Park, where about a dozen luxury towers are set to rise in the next few years. In April, the community board asked the city’s Planning Department for a zoning study of Empire Boulevard, a stretch of warehouses, auto-body shops and storage units, seeking to have a say — and ensure affordable housing — in the area’s inevitable development.
Within months, a group of incensed residents began disrupting discussions with demands that the board embrace a no-development policy instead of the rezoning proposal. The group, Movement to Protect the People, wants Empire Boulevard to stay low-rise and has called on the city to preserve, not build, affordable units in the area. It has threatened to sue the community board over its vote on the proposal, and it accused elected officials of conspiring with developers.”

here is the link to whole article – learned a lot

read between the lines

People, people…read between the lines…scare the cap out of the locals with a crazy high number of proposed units…say 70,000…and then JVB will “settle” for only around 11,000 or so. He positions this-and himself-as a win and we the people are duped once again.

Take My Money

So in conclusion, what the PEOPLE want is a Hospital, Acres of Green Space, Parking Lot(s), A New Transit Line and as a Bonus feature a Soccer Stadium. I think this can work. Lets hope for the best.


Sunnyside, Woodside, LIC, Maspeth, Jackson Heights, Astoria Queens all need a full -fledged hospital. Elmhurst Hospital is no longer capable of serving these areas. These are areas in disparate need for a hospital to be built with medical professionals on staff. We have lost too many hospitals. Now we need to build one. Health is very important and should remain a priority.

Patricia Dorfman

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” – Mark Twain

@catnip: you are right!

catnip has no affect on me

p dorfmans post is actually longer than the articlle.what you say may be valid but no one wants to read a novel on a discussion board. i

South Side Johnny

It was interesting and not so difficult to read. That’s why I came here, to read and to be informed. Some folks like pictures and short little sentences; others like more detail. There’s room for everyone.

Boyd Rice

I was just thinking this idea doesn’t seem so bad now. Add in some green space and free parking for residents in the stadium lots on non-game days and you’d have people signing up for it over 70,000 units in a heartbeat.


Just think of the parking lot they could build over there. We could make some of our streets pedestrian-only, expand the Farmer’s Market, and put in more bike lanes. Everyone could park their cars there and the pedestrians of Sunnyside could have their space back.


actually now i’m getting a little skeptical…70,000…how could they even build that many?? “hunters point south” is big and it has 1,000 units. this would be SEVENTY of those…that’s ridiculous. the yards is big but it’s not that big. i think this is total BS. JVB must know it’s a crap number….what’s his angle????

Patricia Dorfman

(Reprinted [with corrections], permission of the Woodside Herald)
“Please Do Not Build Over Sunnyside Yards

The Mayor has discarded the wishes of the electorate in his enthusiastic speech about his Yards development plan, which seems to favor giant real estate interests and construction workers who do not live here (East Side Access workers live in onsite dormitories). This disconnect from actual human beings and small businesses who have chosen Western Queens, who believe we live in a democracy, look to him as our Mayor, not the Mayor of only people who live elsewhere or who have not yet moved to NYC, is a shock.

A Trophy Town [my term] being featured so lavishly as a centerpiece of his February 2 speech, when one has yet to find one resident in favor not connected to current government or special interests, gives the appearance that the entire project is one crafted by rich, powerful people that Mayor deBlasio has accepted dutifully. He gets to let giant financial firms make millions, gets to please the unions and others giving huge donations to the party, and can call it “affordable housing,” as though it is a kindness to the needy.

If affordable housing, whatever that means, is wanted, why not immediately buy five vacant small lots in Sunnyside Woodside here, and get started, for a fraction of the billions this will cost us taxpayers? In two years, something real can happen. The hole in the ground at 46th-Bliss and Queens Blvd. where Dae Dong burned down has been ready for 14 years.

If the Yards are built over as he plans, that would mean that there seems to be a frightening marriage of political, economic, and organized labor at a national, state and local level which is not by the consent or in the interest of local voters, taxpayers and residents. The words offensive term, used by his aides, that the Yards are an “ugly scar,” and the lie from other associates that we residents are clamoring for decking, sounds like heartless people looking down upon us from on high.

We live in a virtual one party system out here, with so much power in the hands of elected officials to dispense patronage favors, that the party itself has become a kind of company, which runs for itself. The government then becomes, in this case, not for individuals who voted thinking they would be represented.

Many in the Queens are shocked at the mayor’s lack of interest in the welfare and wishes of actual residents and small businesses. Mitch Waxman, Astoria resident who reports and photographs for and, says, “I find it surprising that the self-proclaimed progressive mayor of New York City has so thoroughly embraced the plan of Michael Bloomberg’s former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff. (Doctoroff was CEO of Bloomberg LLC.)

And for those who want to have an open “discussion” about how to use some of the Sunnyside Yards for anything other than a giant park (hey, billionaires Bloomberg and Doctoroff, buy us a park, that will change all of our lives instantly and make you our heroes) means that once any building is done, the rest is up for grabs. We cannot build on just part of it.

Please do not build over Sunnyside Yards. If Trophy Town comes to pass, it means we no longer have any say about our city. It means that all rezoning of the past 20 years of Queens is calculated to line the pockets of the rich, displace the working class and small businesses who would not be afford the new rents, is paid for by the taxpayer, and is now described as “affordable housing,” of the future, as though it is a noble goal to crush our lifestyles, wishes, hopes and dreams. Developing over the Yards will extend Manhattan over us like servants on borrowed land. (The author is a registered Democrat, union member and Sunnyside resident.)”

Adding here: Councilman Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Nolan, Senator Gianaris, please continue your efforts to stand up for no proceeding without local agreement; THANK YOU. @Off the grid guy above, yes, growth in itself has no particular benefit. No need for the “ediface complex.”
Reader: If you have read this far (sorry), and you haven’t already done so, please sign this petition, or start your own. We are up to about 400 online, and physical signatures over 500. Only 159,000 to go! 🙂
For the committee, [email protected]

Lou Minatti

“construction workers who do not live here”…A huge part of the Sunnyside community are union construction workers who would benefit from a project of this size.


jeez louise. i hate to say it, but i’d much rather have 11,000 all-luxury units than a mixed-income development with 70,000 units. i can’t even comprehend that many apartments. that’s bigger than sunnyside now…a whole new city as someone said. but maybe this is part of the plan — they scare us with the 70,000 number and eventually we agree to 11,000 luxury and end up like long island city. at the end of the day though…i’d rather have long island city than be as crowded as Beijing

Seth Diamond

70 to 80 thousand units?..A population greater than the entire city of Albany?..A project bigger than co-op city in the Bronx? That is crime plagued co-op city which has it’s own police force btw…all this to be built on rail yards in our backyard?..I can only conclude that our mayor who built a fence around Gracie Mansion is still smoking pot


JVB has your back he’s born and raised here but he can’t even get his own front and backyard cleaned up look at all the garbage everywhere in the neighborhood. Is he the true definition of a bullshit politician.


Wonder how this will play out? Cuomo is against it. Bharara’s going after Cuomo. Cuomo gets indicted. DiBlasio & Co. make the deals for decade-long construction. Western Queens is a mess. Sea levels rise and we all die.

ducks quack

i would love to live on park ave wonder is there any affordable housing in that area? anon is right. piss off if you cant afford the area or better still go to Detroit loads of affordable homes there


Not at the expense of the residents that grew up in the neighborhood. If you don’t like us, then why did you move here in the first place?

off the grid guy

Sunnyside has enough people. NYC has enough people. The earth has enough people. Jimmy, what is your vision? What’s your philosophy? Do you ever do any research? Have you ever heard of ‘Limits to Growth” “The Gaia Theory”? You should be encouraging people to move to Buffalo or Detroit or Australia. Hurricane Sandy proved that our micro – ecosystem here is stretched to the limit. A little ice on the 7 train strands thousands of crowded commuters for hours. Are you ready for a hack on ConEd? We’d last a few days. Just insist on a large community garden, some playing fields, maybe a library (Woodside Branch is still closed on Saturdays, for years) What alternatives do you propose for the rail yards? Of course you could always make it into a large dog run. You need to think big against big money developers.


Warren Wilheim is legendary when it comes to land grabs, He and property developer Steve Nislick are trying to close the Horse Drawn Carriage’s so as they can steal the land that the stables are built on, This is another play by big business and crooked politicians, neighborhood can not sustain this project.

Mike Novak

“We can’t fit people on the 7 train today, we don’t have enough school seats for our children today, we don’t have enough green space in western Queens today”


Not welfare housing, affordable housing, there is a difference. Not every 20 something makes an executive’s salary.


Some “progressive” and “champion of the little guy”.

De Blasio is as much in the back pocket of the real estate moguls as anyone.


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

Jan. 27, 2023 By Bill Parry

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.