Dec. 9, 2014 By Christian Murray
Call it a preemptive strike.
A group of residents have put forward a petition voicing their opposition to the development of the Sunnyside Yards.
A 12-person committee—which includes the President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce—started the petition last week.
The petition, which is both online and on paper, expresses their concern that plans are in motion to deck the yards. The petition, which is addressed to elected officials, has already generated about 100 signatures.
Their petition comes in the wake of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff’s New York Times op-ed calling for the construction of a 3.1 million square foot convention city to be built over the yards, accompanied by nearly 14,000 resident units—of which 7,000 of them would be ‘affordable.”
Furthermore, in October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said that it might turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use.
But the petitioners say not so fast.
“Sunnyside and Long Island City’s infrastructure cannot stand what we have now,” the petition reads.
“The subways are overcrowded and our school district is one of the most overcrowded in New York City. There are already 5,000-10,000 units coming to LIC/Sunnyside as it is – and residents don ‘t know how the area will be able to absorb these incoming residents. Therefore, the idea of building over the yards – bringing more residents and commercial tenants – will be an extreme burden on all of us.”
Furthermore, the petition reads: Our “biggest concern of all is that we residents seem be shut out of the process and an inner circle is making all these decisions.”
Patricia Dorfman, one of the committee members and the author of the petition, said: “We are residents and taxpayers. This radical change in land use where we live should not happen behind closed doors and affordable housing should not be used as a Trojan Horse.”
All I want is a park… with some real grass… and some real trees. seems to be a lot of land over on them tracks. I consider any development plan without adding some nature back to queens to be a massive fail.
NY City is already subsidizing the conversion to “affordable” housing of at least one LIC bldg that hasn’t sold. See below for how 7.6 million of our tax dollars was spent for “affordable” apts. ($1100/month studios):
Go to Queensboro Plaza at night – take a look at the high rises north of the plaza that continue to be 2/3 vacant 6 years after being constructed. It seems there IS a limit to how many people can afford $2100/mo. or more 1 BR apts.
The subways are already jam packed – imagine if even these bldgs were full and then imagine if Sunnyside Yards were replaced by dozens of high rises. Development should be contingent on the addition of another subway line PRIOR to new construction.
Any proposal for large-scale new housing in the neighborhood should have to include proposals for new schools and increased transportation options for new (and existing) residents. Maybe Express buses into Manhattan from the new housing/convention area to Grand Central? Sufficient parking options included within the devlopment? Additional police officers and patrol cars and fire brigade services for the area? Development must be planned and carried out responsibly with scope for input from existing residents.
These are not good arguments. The actual increase in the number of vehicles trying to get over the bridge is the problem. Where to put them when they get here is secondary. We simply can’t handle the influx. The city will NOT be building an additional subway line to Sunnyside/LIC, therefore all discussion of amenities such as parking just sounds ridiculous.
This idea is terrible no matter which way they try to spin it. Wouldn’t this begin the “Manhattification” of LIC/Sunnyside and turn it into a potential terror target?
Reading comments on this site makes me feel very unwelcome as a young professional and newcomer to Sunnyside. I purchased a coop, and absolutely love this neighborhood and plan on staying forever if I can. I hope the attitudes expressed here are not representative of the neighborhood as a whole.
Quit your bitching, you’re gonna need a thicker skin kid.
I’m not losing any sleep. Thanks for your concern.
This Site has only negative people posting comments on it and is not representative of the larger population of residents in Sunnyside. If you look closely, its the same few people complaining of progress. Those same people are most likely living in rent controlled or rent stabilized apartments. They fear the neighborhood getting better because they fear their landlords will sell the building when they see how much its worth and they will be forced out by the new landlords.
Hang in there, You are welcome in Sunnyside and you and other newcomers like you are what will make this neighborhood even better than it already is.
If I were you, I would read Sunnyside Post because it does give great info on whats going on in the neighborhood. Just skip the comments which are mostly written by ignorant, miserable people.
I don’t rent, I own but whining yuppies annoy me. “I feel unwelcome somebody hug me”. Sorry not everybody gets a trophy just for showing up, grade school is over. As far as Anonymous visitor goes, let the prices keep going up I looking forward to early retirement.
Good for you, you bought a co-op! Have you learned the names of the guys down at Marabellas? Have you helped decorate any of the churches for Christmas? Do you walk around Sunnyside and get to know your neighbors? Have you volunteered to help remove graffiti? If you answered yes, welcome to the neighborhood! If not, nobody gives a crap.
I’m with anon, we’re homeowners. We keep our gardens nice, we maintain our pointing, we shovel snow, we put in WORK. Sunnyside welcomes people but not at the expense of our community. We don’t want empty storefronts but we also don’t want to sacrifice Super Tuesday movies or thrift stores filled to the brim with books.
As for “anonymous visitor’s” comment, I can’t say that the fears of those who have been living in the apartment buildings, for decades, are unfounded. They have every right to be upset about being priced out of a neighborhood that they’ve called home their whole lives. It’s nice that you can afford to purchase co-ops here, but please remember that we made this neighborhood what it is. We made it into a community. Sunnyside is like the “Stars Hollow” of NYC and frankly, we don’t want to give that up.
Transportation and public space should be key in any proposal before any development proposal is put forward.
this clears up the sudden resignation of Joe Conley from CPB#2
From what I hear he might be back in a year. He has done it before.
I don’t want to move upstate. I own (not rent) so I won’t be priced out of Sunnyside, but I care more about quality of life issues here than making money with higher property values due to all the new development.
wonderful idea. Build build build. High too. It only brings up property value and makes money for everyone. All you cry babies get your tissues and move up state if you don’t like it. Stop whining. Whaaaaaaassssss whaaaaassssss!!!!!
Shut the … Up.
You have your head wrapped in a bag of coins, I see. Otherwise you would never be stupid enough to say it is good for everyone.
Yes lets build more “affordable housing” because that area needs another housing project vertical ghetto.
Good Dialogue team. Keep it going.
Matt: They’ll be lots of dead pedestrians.
the only way i see this working out real well… is affordable must be like $1000 rent stabilized 1 bedroom apartments and a new subway line and tunnel under the east river…..or a separate stop on the new LIRR rail line to grand central
or a Jamaica sunnyside grand central shuttle every 15 minutes
Also a free unicorn to the first 1000 applicants. What color is the sky in your world?
just saying where are you going to put the thousands of new daily commuters…….the M train?
$1000 for a 1 bedroom ain’t going pay for a new subway line and tunnel under the east river. Or a new stop on the LIRR……..Get real people! If you want to pay $1000 for a 1 bedroom move to Nebraska
Even JVB can’t stop this one. He will act like he is against it in public. But just like any other politician, he will take the bribe and let it happen.
It’s going to happen and it’s going to suck.
I’ve been thinking lately that Skillman could be a good corridor to remove lights and input “stop when pedestrians are present” signs. It’d be a great way to create a unique and standout impression for the neighborhood. Though, I maybe thinking too hippie for a main strip in NYC to have that type of motorist/pedestrian relationship.
If you did that, Skillman would be a death trap. The design already makes it too conducive to speeding, not yielding and running red lights.
So, Skillman is a main strip? Wow. Things have changed.
No development without the right infrastructure. Transportation, safe crossing of boulevards, schools, parks and parking.
We are over developed as it is with more and more people pouring into the area. We desperately need some breathing space. Create parks.
No more glass and steel eye sores.
There’s plenty of breathing space in the suburbs.
Everyone, everywhere needs breathing space. Where have you been for the past 50 years when all this research came out? Oh, concentrating on yourself, if your screen name is any hint.
We desperately need a middle school!
Development can be good if the community had input into it. Just saying no to all development is irresponsible. The development in our neighborhood right now is an example of irresponsible development that is hurting us. Our politicians have to stand up for us. I’m tired of Pat Dorfman and the Chamber speaking for everyone. I didn’t elect them to anything and the Sunnyside Post shouldn’t be publishing a petition for or against this proposal. So far it is just a broad proposal with no details. Don’t sign it!
You are silly. Pat Dorfman speaks for herself and people who agree with her. If you have a different point of view you want to hear expressed, do as she does: stand up and state it.
Wishing to quiet others is not democratic. Watch yourself, bud.
I agree we don’t have the infrastructure to build a convention center and more housing. Subways and schools are overcrowded as is…. Why aren’t the people who are proposing decking Sunnyside Yards with its accompanying massive residential development and convention center talking about this…. I assume they won’t be living in LIC or Sunnyside and dealing with the problems the proposed development would cause.
When proposals are given to the city, its infrastructure needs are built into the proposal.
Whether you agree with their assessments or not is another story, but if you read the proposal those concerns will be addressed.
The needs are addressed after the tax money starts coming in, not before. So for the foreseeable future it will be a horrid mess.
There is no real reason to cover over the yards, why not cover over the river first? People want to be in Manhattan, not Queens.
I’m all for it IF they promise to build new schools for elementary AND middle school. They also need to set up some kinda ferry system to get into the city the 7 train sucks BALLZ
Reuben I thought you would be the last person to believe any promise any politician made, you’re softening man.
Once again Patricia Dorfman speaks for the community. This is a new proposal. Let’s hear all the sides!
I’m not opposed to development of the site. I am opposed to irresponsible development.
Anything built at the site should have park space with athletic field(s), free or paid parking lots, dedicated parking spaces for any units built, no buildings over six stories unless there is retail on ground floor then a 7th story can be permitted, if parking needs to be ground floor than an 8th story should be permitted.
I’m not a developer. But, the space has tremendous potential to improve the area just as much as it has the potential to ruin the area; residentially and economically.
you do realize that the ENTIRE surroudning neighborhood is high rises, right? This is far closer to Queens Plaza than it is Sunnyside.
Yeah!!! They should make it a big parking lot, but all free parking.
How about we allow any height and let the free market do its thing. This location is far enough from Sunnyside that it won’t have an effect on it.
Decking Sunnyside Yards is a great idea. I also think that it’s inevitable. I’d like to start a petition of Sunnyside/LIC residents who support development of Sunnyside Yards.
Manzar, as a Sunnyside resident I would sign on to that. We should both support the effort AND establish what these communities need to be able to accommodate such development.
I agree. I’m not necesarilly pro this proposal but I do think the Sunnyside Railyards should be developed into something useful, and I’m sorry but a huge park or something is not financially plausible. Maybe a new school and housing?
I also don’t really understand why some Sunnysiders think this is so awful, when its rather far from Sunnyside. We just share the name; the site is located in LIC. The thing that makes sunnyside unique is its residential low rise zoning; this part of LIC is most certainly not Sunnyside.
They would be coming to Sunnyside to take the train and the buses. They would be sending their kids to schools in Sunnyside. Most of us wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to another middle school or relocating Queens Vocational high school and moving those horrible kids away from residential blocks, but more housing is ridiculous. There are way too many people in the neighborhood as it is. Homeowners without driveways can’t even find parking in front of their own houses anymore. Not to mention, these apartments wouldn’t be affordable at all. People are already breaking apartments up into smaller units and housing 8 tenants at a time on one floor, all for the sake of money. I don’t know about your living situation, but where I live all of our houses are connected. That means that when there’s 30 people living in one house, there’s more stuff and more garbage which causes more mice and roaches and they love to travel!