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Former Phipps Playground Expected to Become City Park, Van Bramer says

Phipps Playground

June 14, 2016 By Christian Murray

The site of the former Phipps Playground, a privately-owned lot located on the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street, is likely to become a city park.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has allocated $3 million for the purchase and renovation of the former playground, which is currently owned by DBH Associates, a development company.

DBH bought the site from Phipps Houses in July 2007 for $1.4 million. The former playground is located within the confines of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District.

The old lot, where several generations of Sunnyside and Woodside children played, is one of the few depression-era playgrounds still in existence in the City. Its old shed, sandbox pavilion and swings and slides still remain intact.

“Many people have expressed a desire for it to become a park for a long time,” Van Bramer said. “It is important to get it before something is built on the site.”

The existing owner of the site put forward a proposal in 2013 to erect an aluminaire house –made of metal– and construct eight accompanying residential units.

The project, which was panned by the Community Board and this district’s elected officials, was shot down by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Van Bramer, who led the charge against the development at the time, said that DBH is agreeable to the deal.

“The property owner is willing to sell and we have secured enough money to buy it and renovate it.”

Proposed Development

Proposed Development

 

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76 Comments

Woodsider (AKA Johnny come lately:-)

Hi.
Dorothy Morehead seems to have many answers about the re-making of the old Phipps playground.
Now that the dialog has quieted down; the question is the playground going to happen at some point?
This is the perfect location for it.

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Miguel

A skatepark should definitely be built for all of the local skateboarders in the area. There are too many now using public parks, they deserve their own skatepark!

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Dorothy Morehead

Please make that request to Jimmy Van Bramer and/or Community Board 2. JVB recently had a series of public events at which everyone could make suggestions for improvements to his council district. If you missed this one, try next year.
Because this particular park is landmarked, a skate park cannot be included. But do push for one.

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Dorothy Morehead

Assuming you mean ice hockey, there is one in LIC on 32nd Street which is open year-round.

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Vera

That area has me thinking every time I drive by, such a waste of land, sitting there with no use when we need more housing and dog parks. Sunnyside has changed a lot in last 8 years, the face of the neighborhood has changed, more single people has relocated here, couples with career no kids, and mature people with dogs, they all made this area look more sophisticated, the number of dogs has increased, so as the need for more areas dedicated to pet parents to relax and enjoy the outdoor during the spring/summer. No we dont need playground or ball fields of any kind, lets have a cool and peaceful green area for adults and animals.

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concerned_parent

I’m excited to have this space for my children, as it’s on our corner … but I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before the drunks who hang out in the parks near 52nd Street 7 Train set up their shop here. There is one man who is there all the time, drinking, smoking, and cursing. And I’ve seen him in the laundromat and deli on 39th – I think he’s a Phipps resident.

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Mary Renbach

Please learn how to spell the word THEIR. Your complaining and your apparent lack of education is an embarrassment.

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mythoughts247

So excited to get a new public park in this area! I agree with everyone about grass and a quiet, contemplative space for people to hang out.

So silly that Sunnyside Gardens Park is still a private park. Who wants a private park that charges membership fees? Why not make it a free public park that the City maintains for the benefit of everyone in the neighborhood?

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Dorothy Morehead

The park has been privately-owned since it was created in 1926. The membership fees are used to maintain it. Members not only pay annual dues–they are required to contribute volunteer hours. Some members are very active, spending hundreds of hours a year. As a result, it is a clean, safe place for children to play and for adults to relax.

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Oldschool Sunnysider

I don’t own a dog.
But every day, I have to see it, smell it, and pick it up after the lazy dog owners let their pampered pooches poop all over the Gardens! Why can’t these people keep their canines on THIER side of Skillman Ave?

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Gilligan

The expression curb your dog was prominent in the 80’s. I am not stopping my dog from taking a crap from wherever she/he is at that moment, to pull the dog into the street where there are insane drivers, mopeds, motorcycles, going by. How would you like to get pulled off the toilet bowl when you are ready to have a bowel movement? I always pick up the poop from wherever she defecates. Shame on the dog owners who do not pick up. Case closed. By the way, I grew up here too and I love dogs. The dog folks are some of the nicest, friendliest people in the neighborhood.

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Scoler

“Curb your dog” means don’t let your dog go on the sidewalk where people walk, but let them go over by the curb, where people do not walk. It has nothing to do with making your dog go in the street.

Case re-opened due to ignorance and inconsideration.

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Gilligan

I know what the “curb your dog” expression from the 80’s meant. I am not doing that to my dog. She goes wherever she goes. I am not dragging her around. I clean up the poop. That’s all that matters. Case closed. You step on far worse with your shoes, which you then track into your home and you don’t even realize it. Get over where a dog takes a crap. You have no say over it, so you are just stewing in your feelings at this point. What maters is what when a dog defecates, the owner is responsible and picks up the feces. Case closed. Next.

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Dorothy Morehead

I don’t currently have a dog but know what it’s like to wait for my dogs to do their business. While you can’t always control when your dog goes, you can control where it goes. Thanks for cleaning up and calling out those who don’t. I personally like to see people and their dogs on the street–it makes our community safer.

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chickpea

FUNNY YOU SHOULD SAY THAT, JUST TODAY AT THE INTERSECTION OF 49TH ST. AND SKILLMAN AVE WHILE I WAS WAITING FOR MY WIFE TO COME OUT OF THE CAFE ON 50TH ST. AND SKILLMAN. I SAW A MALE AND HIS DOG STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CROSS WALK WHEN THE GREEN LIGHT IS IN FAVOR OF SKILLMAN AVE. STOP AND LET THE DOG TAKE A PEE, MEAN WHILE THE DRIVERS HAD TO SLOW DOWN AND GO AROUNG HIM.

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Oldschool Sunnysider

Thank goodness that the people will benefit from this and he land will not be a trophy shelf for Le Grande Architect’s aluminum tinker toy!

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CG

You can’t have grass and dogs coexisting. Dogs urine and feces kill any living plants including grass. That is why the grass is so green on LIC waterfront because there are no dogs. I wish more dog owners knew this so that they wouldn’t let their dogs pee on street trees, plants or grass. The saying “curb your dog” means let your dog pee and poo in the street. That way when the street sweeper comes it can clean up the part that you can’t get with the plastic bag and then people are less likely to step in it than if it is on the sidewalks.

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QueensGal

Awesome! Yes to GREEN SPACE. Would be lovely to have a quiet place to read a book and relax. Benches, grass, some plantings:) YEAH.

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Jimmy Van Pooch

Will the proposed park be open to all or will it be a segregated, certain people only park like nearby Sunnside Gardens Park which also receives taxpayer money allocated by JVB?

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Dorothy Morehead

It will be a public park. Ownership will be transferred to the Parks Department.

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GREEN SPACE for ALL

Green Space for ALL community members including dogs would be amazing. Also,how about some much needed garbage cans in the community?

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Dorothy Morehead

Request litter cans either to JVB or Community Board 2. NYC is a complaint-driven bureaucracy. It took years to get litter baskets on Skillman but they are there now and emptied regularly.

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Lynne d

A great idea. Our girls used that playground for years. It would be wonderful if other children could have the same experience.

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Dolores Valdez

If its considered in a Historical District, arent there rules that govern what can and cannot be done on that parcel of land? I personally think they should convert it back to a park and just keep up the maintenance. I’ve passed by it a number of times, and it is not managed well or kept up to par.

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Dorothy Morehead

Yes, because it in the Historic District, any changes must be approved by the Landmarks Commission. Maintenance would be by the Parks Department. Minimum maintenance (leaves raked, fallen tree branches removed, litter removed) by the current owner and prior to that by Phipps and it has been locked up.

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We need green space

its a great start to getting more green space in Sunnyside. If one was to look at a subway map you can see the absences of parks in North western Queens in comparison to other areas of the city. With NW queens becoming one of the most densely populated areas in the city, now is the time that we start pushing the city to deck over sunnyside railway yards and make it a park. we are chocking here for some quality outdoor space

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Dorothy Morehead

I totally agree with you about the need for quality outdoor space but decking Sunnyside Yard would be phenomenally expensive and it is highly unlikely that the city would underwrite that unless it were to include a huge residential and/or commercial project. If we look at past projects of that type, in Brooklyn no open pace has been created from the Atlantic Yard project and no affordable housing. in Manhattan the Hudson Yard project has resulted in no open space and only 120 affordable apartments.

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Sunnyside Spark

When you think only 2 yrs ago the debate around this site was about what might be built, how many floors?, parking impact, etc… this is actually an astonishing accomplishment and Van Bramer deserves all the credit for it. What a rare and wonderful opportunity to create an inspiring open space for Sunnysiders, Woodsiders, visitors, dogs, etc. Midtown Manhattan has the most spectacular pocket parks, some even smaller than this lot. Why not here too? Very pleasantly surprised that we have been given this unique chance to improve our hood!

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frank caropreso

Thank you again Jimmy for yet another major accomplishment on our behalf. And, I don’t say that often enough. I always seem to complain when I see you. You’re an excellent, ethical, councilman who always has the neighborhood’s best interest at heart. I am very proud that you represent us and very proud that you are a neighbor and a friend.

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Rosamond Gianutsos

Actually, no connection to Phipps – they sold the lot in 2007 to DBH “a development company.” Their proposal was successfully opposed by a coalition of neighborhood residents. I love a good conspiracy, but this is not one, just a victory for the community.

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Anonymous

Enough with the dogs! I feel like we live in a dog land with all the shit and pee smell all around, dog hair flying on the children park all over the children, its just disgusting! Dogs dont need separate parks they are not people! And they can take walks on the streets as long as their owners pick up their crap instead of living it everywhere!!!

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Dogs rule the world

Maybe someone should put a leash on you and make you crap and pee on the sidewalk. Sounds like that’s all your worthy of and that’s being generous. Shut your mouth about dogs or all us dog owners will shut it for you.

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ChimpLord

Stop.Everybody knows the neighborhood dog owners are anything but tough.Please stop with the threats.

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Anonymous

You are such a moron whoever you are! The dogs are smarter than people and some owners are just worse than their dogs! If you dont clean after your dog that means you are irresponsible and ignorant and lazy and you should not own a dog because you do not know how to take care of it! So better keep yourself on the lish and mouth shut because it has nothing nice to say just as the shit that you leave behind your dog!

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Helen

I have a dog and am thankful this is a dog friendly neighborhood. But I agree. We have enough. Do something nice for people.

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John O'Sullivan

Scaredy cat Anonymous too chicken to put your real name: If you don’t like dogs or dog shit, MOVE the F**K out of our neighborhood. I am a native to Sunnyside and we don’t need your negative kind here! Can I suggest a junior 1-bedroom in Williamsburg for you?

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Sunnysider

John O’Sullivan you are are a stupid one! You fuck out of this nabe and take your shitty dog with you! If you dont like the comments and have nothing nice to say than just shut up! What you wrote doesnt make you any smarter then the dog you cant take proper care of, so peace on you! And pick up ur dogs crap because it stinks just like your comment!

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Sunnysider

And by the way if you are a native sunnysider then you are a crapy one, because you think its ok to step in dogs shit or a dog stopping to pee in front of you whie you and your kids eat your ice-cream on a bench. So pee’s on you and you loyalty to this nabe! Coz you suck big time!

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Southside Johnny

There you go, the NORTH side of Sunnyside in a nutshell! If you need me, I’ll be in Thomson Hill Park, reading a library book. It’s really delightful. Even the vagrants are friendlier and more civilized than this.

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ChimpLord

Sunnysider you are worried about dog s#$t??? What about the heroin and cocaine running rampant… how about the burglaries and breakins?Murders etc etc????Get your priorities right

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Vera

I wonder how long do you live in Sunnyside, because the fact that Sunnyside is dog friendly is what makes it great and safe. Worse than dogs pee is the human pee which happened in front of me at day light at handball court, that is disgusting, as I walked by. There are worse things than dogs hair flying over. Children makes more dirty and garbage than dogs, the yelling and screaming can drive even a deaf person crazy, the gum, candy wrappers, cups, bottles, all left by them. You should live in the Island, where people dont socialize, dogs dont socialize, and everybody is like you anonymous.

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Sunnysider for over 20 years

A dog Park with actual grass and trees instead of concrete which is horrible for the paws of all the dogs in Sunnyside/Woodside would be wonderful. The dog park on 43 is always very congested. LIC has 4 dog parks. Brooklyn’s dog parks are not concrete built either.

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Helen

The material in the dog park on 43rd ave is not concrete exactly. People thought about these things. Also, half the time I take my dog there I am the only one. You probably stare at your phone as you walk slowly down the subway stairs during rush hour. Completely oblivious to reality.

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Marie

That’s so fantastic, this made my night! Thanks, Jimmy! (And ditto on the people park instead of a dog park. Dogs are nice and all, but as a non-dog-owner who lives outside the Gardens catchment area, I’d rather there not be a second park in the area that I’m not allowed into).

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OldenDays

this is great news! i just posted about this here the other day. almost freaky that it happens a few days later. anyway, glad to see something coming to this space.

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Sooz

Please add grass to this park. Neighborhood is desperate for parks with actual grass. Happy it is gonna be kept public space. Good Job Jimmy.

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Sooz perry

A patch of green would be lovely. Neighborhood is desperate for a park with actual grass.

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Jakers

I want the city to spend as much in sunnyside as they did on the waterfront where rich people live.

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MaryPat

…Thank you Jimmy Van Bramer for another good decision ..
The original plan was just awful and would have taken away from the area .
..A small area in this park for doggies would be nice .. Bet it could be worked in.
Buttt… then you would have to listen to the surrounding neighbors complaining about the noise, as happened in the original doggie area in WIndmuller Park by the statue ..

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Hmmm

Does Phipps own this lot? Looks like the payment to make the other development go away. It pays to know Charlene McCray!

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Hmmm

This is the payoff for Phipps to drop their development plans. I wonder how much they are getting.

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Anonymous

Phipps sold the lot several years ago to a private developer. Only their strategic sale of the property before landmarking, when they could no longer anticipate profiting from the holding, made this great gift to the community possible.

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Laurie

A dog park would be nice !! 43rd street is great but a little too small for all the dogs in the area

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Scoler

Some of us think we already have too many dogs in our neighborhood, especially the small yappy ones that we hear all the time. That’s what you get with puppy-mill dogs: animals that are nervous and high-strung.

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Vera

There never be too many dogs parks as long there are dogs, I think there are too many playgrounds and the courts where teens play is a gather of potheads like the handball court at 43St/Skilmann. Makes me sick just by walking by. At dog parks smoke is not allowed and people watch over each other. I agree with the yappy annoying sound …but they dont come from dogs they come from kids, and their mothers yelling all the time. It shouldn’t be called playground, should be called torture area.

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Jakers

I would like dog owners to pick up their sh*t. The streets of sunnyside are a giant toilet for rude and self centered dog owners.

Reply

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