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Sunnyside Gardens Turns 90, Preservationists Unveil Historic District Markers

Herb Reynolds

Herbert Reynolds (Photo: QueensPost)

Oct. 26, 2014 By Christian Murray

In October 1924, the City Housing Corp unveiled the first section of the Sunnyside Gardens that consisted of houses and coops built on 47th Street between 43rd and Skillman Avenues.

Ninety years later, Herbert Reynolds, president of the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance, held an event to mark the occasion by placing three signs throughout the district that provides a brief history of the area and a map.

Reynolds led a tour around Sunnyside Gardens and stopped off at various locations to unveil the signs. The signs were placed near the corner of 46th Street and Skillman Avenue; on 47th Street (between Queens Blvd and 43rd Avenue); and near Sunnyside [Gardens] Park.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who lives in the historic district,  thanked those who helped make sure Sunnyside Gardens was a landmarked district. “We have the history, the architecture and the urban planning here,” he said.

The three signs (see below) noted that the district was built between 1924 and 1928, and was inspired by the English “garden city’ ideal of the late 19th century. Furthermore, it stated that the Phipps Gardens Apartments, which are part of the district, were build between 1931 and 35.

Sunnyside Gardens became a landmarked district in 2007 after a hotly contested debate. In 2011, brown street signs denoting the historic district went up throughout the gardens.


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Anonymous visitor

The negative comments sound as if they are coming for developers or their shills. It is hard for me to imagine, but I see that some people do want to live in glass towers. So be it. But why do they have to want to bulldoze other people’s beloved homes to do it? Are they as soulless as the glass?

Anonymous visitor

Because they are turning into an eyesore. It is a shame when people take something that should be special and let it fall into such disrepair. Perhaps they are the soulless ones letting something with historical significance fall into such shabby conditions.

I believe in sunnyside

don’t worry, hipsters will eventually buy these houses and turn them around. The neighborhood has a unique charm and is just a stone’s throw from manhattan.


Those Sunnyside gardens houses look like shit. Four out of five look like shanties awaiting demolition, not a “landmarked” property.

Give me a nice modern glass tower any day.

Royale with Cheese

There should be a similar sign up by Celtic Park. Quite a bit of history there even if the athletic field is long gone. The clowns on the co-op board would probably oppose it though.

mayo diblasia

thank god the didnt erect a freakin tombstone like they did in front of wendys. People with no eye for aesthetics should never make decisions that people have to see every day. The tombstones should stop at Calvarys gates.

Is some boxer buried in that parking lot?


Sunnyside gardens is falling apart, 3 out of 5 houses you see on most streets are old, not maintained well and weed infested. Instead of being proud of “historical district” maybe they should push those owners to maintain their properties.

Anonymous visitor

Agreed. 90 years is old and most of the houses look every bit of it and then some. It looks like its time for the bulldozers.


They are stupid for now because it is not being utilized the liked comments should raise to the top and disliked ones should go down. There is also some formatting issue, but I look pass that.

Kramden's Delicious Marshall

Contrast this to the ugly, soulless, out-of-scale, glass and steel towers cropping up all over town.

When they built Sunnyside Gardens, they built it for human beings. Too bad that’s rarely the case these days.


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