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First Public Meeting for Sunnyside Yard Master Planning Process to Take Place This Month

via EDC

Oct. 5, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

Potential development of the Sunnyside Yard continues to inch closer to reality, as the first public meeting as part of the master planning process has been set for this month.

The meeting, scheduled for Oct. 24 at LaGuardia Community College, will go over the master planning process that kicked off over the summer and allow for attendees to voice their ideas about the neighborhood and the yard’s framework and vision.

About six stations will be set up at the meeting, all designed to gather input from the neighborhood on a variety of areas for analysis. One station, for example, will ask about existing area conditions, including things people value most about their neighborhood along with pressure points. Another station will focus on open space.

The input will be analyzed and incorporated into the master planning process, where it will help inform the master plan, a long-term document that lays out what can be built over the yard. It will touch on aspects like housing and affordability, transportation, community facilities, parks and schools, along with development phases and a potential timeline to carry the plan out.

The idea behind the meeting is to encourage a collaborative undertaking for the 180-acre yard and to seek community input on their vision for the next generation.

“The Sunnyside Yard master planning process includes many opportunities for elected and community stakeholder agreement because it’s important to ensure that the many diverse communities surrounding the yard have a seat at the table,” said Shavone Williams, a spokesperson for the city’s Economic Development Corporation, one of the agencies managing the yard’s potential development.

The first public forum, organized in part by Amtrak, which owns the majority of the yard, comes as the Sunnyside Yard Steering Committee, held its first meetings beginning in the summer. The 35-member committee, made up of local leaders and stakeholders and selected by the EDC, will help outline priorities for the yard’s brainstorming and development as part of the master planning process, among other functions.

The EDC is also in the process of arranging interviews, workshops, round-tables, and thinking of other methods to engage the public in the process. A digital component will also be implemented as part of the engagement process for those unable to attend meetings but interested in joining the conversation.

The master planning process, to be developed by the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, along with other engineering and planning experts, is expected to wrap up by the end of 2019, but could take up to two years to finish.

The city, along with Amtrak, first announced their intention to produce a master plan for the site in May, just over a year after the Sunnyside Yard Feasibility Study was released.

The study said over 80 percent of the yard could potentially be decked over and developed with up to 24,000 residential units, 19 schools and 52 acres of public parks.

The yard has long been eyed for development, with Amtrak approaching the city in 2014 to discuss the possibility of a large-scale development above the yards.

The first public meeting for the Sunnyside Yard Master Plan will take place on Oct. 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at LaGuardia Community College, located at 31-10 Thomson Ave. To register, visit,

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Patricia Dorfman

“Nothing there, please,” might be our best input.
Nothing proposed in the earlier feasibility study seemed appealing for Queens. The decking and high-rise construction on top near us would cast a shadow over us. The hosts of this event are now saying there is no plan planned, and that they are asking for input.
But the hosts are attempting to convey that the development is “inevitable” and we need to submit input before it is too late. Maps, stickers, markers, videos and good snacks will be on hand to seem we have a large say.

But development is NOT inevitable unless the mayor uses eminent domain, or Amtrak goes rogue. Earlier statements the mayor made a la Doctoroff in his “state of the city” addresses show that the main desire by the admin and real estate lobby backers is a large profit component. No $19 billion will likely be borrowed to furnish us a 180-acre park.

To many of us, the lack of infrastructure is already a big problem in Western Queens with a building and population boom. Thus the only wish list that sounds good for Queens would be half of the 180 acres as contiguous park, adding a new subway, and no luxury or MIH (fake affordable housing) at all. That is not likely because no profit.

Whatever this admin decides will be more of a strain on Queens, as we see with LIC, with developers making money and not being here to suffer the 20 years of construction, and the displacement of small business and current residents. Think your small biz will prosper? Any small firms left around Atlantic and Hudson yards? No. And nearby NYCHA will become second-class residents in their own neighborhoods, with no affordable stores and little sky.

If you live in landmarked Sunnyside Gardens, or Phipps, you might feel safe, but who wants to live here with five times the traffic, in relative low rises dwarfed by skyscrapers?

The event is already booked up on eventbrite but i am going to the event and pretty much politely saying, in or outside, that the only input is “please go away,” or paragraph 4 above, which won’t appeal to them because Amtrak wants money and the REBNY (real estate lobby) forces behind the development seek money. Amtrak is one of four owners of the property, a complexity that has heretofore helped defeat those attempting to develop, from Moses, Rockefeller, Cuomo, Bloomberg, to DeBlasio.

We should all go and speak up. If you plan on moving, no need to go. If you want to stay another ten years, best to go and speak up.

There are a number of local heavy hitters on the official Sunnyside Yards committee who are also not interested in having a city the size of Albany placed on the yards. But there are as many who are very interested in development, such as Alicia Glen from the Mayor’s office who sees Yards developed as a greater good.

Not making ethical judgment. Business is business. But we live here and up to us to stop the land grab unless we are part of it. We don’t want to be swept off the chessboard.

Sunnyside _Native

Ridiculous! The infrastructure cannot even handle the new high rises in Queens Plaza now. I’m amazed at how quiet all of this is. There’s an awful lot of movement down I. Gat out every day????? A hearing so the public can be engaged? Like the hearings for CB2 regarding the bike lanes? A facade to fool people into believing they actually have a say!

Gardens Watcher

I agree Native, but it is important that those that can go speak up and voice their concerns. Alas, bulldozer Bill will try and ram this through as grand jewel of his “accomplishments” despite objections or local concerns.


Does anyone know the latest regarding the proposed apartment building being built on top of the Fresh n Save at Skillman and 51st?
Talk about over crowding, with the bike lanes and a new apartment building,
this corner will be like Times Square.
Save the Copper Kettle!

Skillz Man

nooooooooooooooooooo. there are dozens of new high rise building at Queens Plaza! We don’t need this.


I’ll be dead by the time shovels are in the ground building this. I’m in my 30s. It will take at least 15 years to engineer the deck alone.


Just turn that whole thing into a park, please. I don’t want more buildings and people. Park will at least give people reason to walk and exercise. Maybe less people on 7 train, too.


all nonsense…I remember as a kid in the 70s Rabbits Island was going to be a Stadium
..Housing market is going to collapse, and White Flight should start at first notion of Housing Bubble Bursting. .DEVELOPMENT WOULD ONLY BENEFIT WHITE PEOPLE


There are options on that front. For example, dedicated bus lanes or light rail on major roads and especially over the bridge, including express stops to various neighborhoods, could do a lot.

Truth is we already need that, but there’s already the massive obstacle of drivers who won’t want to give up the idea that they can treat Queens like it’s L.A. If you think they were mad about losing a few parking spaces for safer streets, wait until you tell them they’ll be losing entire lanes of streets like QB and the 59th Street Bridge.


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