July 20, By Jackie Strawbridge
The 20th century landscape architect behind Sunnyside Gardens and Phipps Garden Apartments will soon get a tribute in the historic district whose character she helped create.
A bill that would rename 45th Street between Skillman Avenue and 39th Avenue to “Marjorie Sewell Cautley Way,” in memory of this architect, is set to be passed Thursday.
About 50 other streets and public spaces Citywide will be renamed through this bill.
“From her efforts to help build Sunnyside Gardens – one of our City’s first affordable housing developments – to developing the Phipps Garden Apartments, Ms. Cautley has established herself as one of America’s premier landscape architects,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who requested the renaming, said in an email.
Cautley was born in 1891 and lived into the ‘50s. According to the Cultural Landscape Foundation, she was hired in 1924 by the developers of Sunnyside Gardens and Phipps Garden Apartments, which catered to working class tenants.
Per the CLF, Cautley is credited with choosing native plants for these projects and using landscape features to enhance a sense of community. The Sunnyside Gardens website describes Cautley’s work as creating “lush interior gardens.”
“It is important that we commemorate [Cautley’s] work here in Sunnyside while celebrating the lasting impact she has had on our community,” Van Bramer said.
The Sunnyside Gardens Historic District, including Sunnyside Gardens, Phipps Garden Apartments and the street that will be renamed for Cautley, was designated a City landmark in 2007.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission cited Cautley and her work repeatedly throughout its designation report.