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Historic Signs Going Up, Celebration Planned for May 14

May 6, 2011 By Christian Murray

Brown street signs started going up in Sunnyside Gardens on Saturday, April 30, that mark the district’s landmark status.

For now, the signs adorn only 39th Avenue, but after tomorrow (weather permitting),  they will mark the whole district, which includes the Phipps apartment buildings, Sunnyside Gardens Park, 12 courtyards and 16 blocks of Sunnyside and Woodside north of Queens Boulevard. Noted for its tree-lined streets and small, brick attached houses, the area was designed and built in the twenties to bring affordable houses and green space to lower income residents.

The complex was designed by Henry Wright and Clarence Stein, and the landscape architecture by Marjorie Sewell Cautley. The use of open space lends charm and singularity to the mainly connected, tiny brick single, multi-family and apartment buildings.

The designation by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2007 came after a hotly contested community debate. Herbert Reynolds, a landmarking advocate for the Gardens, when asked about the new signs, said, “Jimmy Van Bramer and his staff deserve the credit.”

Van Bramer got the signs funded, and at one point stopped the process until original street names were included on each sign. “I am pleased we found a way to get this important part of our history up for all to see.”

Van Bramer has tapped Ethel Plimack, a strong advocate for landmarking who is now 100, to do the unveiling honors at the northwest corner of 46th/Bliss Street and Skillman at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 14.

When Ethel was 97, Van Bramer said, she “came down by herself to Manhattan to testify before the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission and could do it again today.”

But with the unveiling, Van Bramer is making it easier. “It will be a half block from her house!”

Van Bramer’s office will announce further details of the celebration soon.

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Click for Comments 

I’m not sure why this would elicit complaints. If anything, it should help property values in the area.

Oppressed Masses

The new signs look great! Thanks to Councilmember Van Bremer and to the people interested enough to improve our community.

Sunnyside Lifer

What a silly waste of money. Legible signs were replaced, meanwhile, half the street signs in Queens can’t be read because they have faded from years of being exposed to the sun.

43rd @ 43rd

Sunnysider – we shouldn’t have to change our address. The picture of the signs above show in large print the same #s but in smaller print the original names of the street.

I agree – I too wonder though if this is going to cause confusion with the PO – what will happen IF we place our “historic” addresses on our mail?!?


Pat, I lived in the neighborhood in the late 1950s. 46 St was not called Bliss St. then–only the subway stop was called “Bliss”. When was it that residents referred to their street as “Bliss”?


We are all going to have to change our street address with the addition of these new street signs. How is the po gong to reach to these signs. Does anyone have any ideas?


I too look forward to seeing the new signs. Was a time when we all knew the NAMES of our streets. I grew up on Bliss St not 46t St .

Need more people like Ethel Plimack who remember when and value the beginnings of our neighborhoods ..

Sunnygripe Post

Yeesh! It seems that every effort made to improve our community elicits complaints from its inhabitants. Oh well. I appreciate the new signs and look forward to the unveiling.


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