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Ten Story Building Planned to Go Up near Sunnyside Gardens

Photo of rendering

Photo of rendering

June 26, 2015 By Christian Murray

A 10 story, 220-unit building is being planned to go up on Barnett Avenue (near 52nd Street), directly across the street from the Phipps Garden Apartments.

The site is currently being used as a parking lot and is located in a manufacturing zone. The developer, Phipps Houses, will soon be seeking a zoning change in order to build the structure.

Phipps is currently working with the city in order to construct a building that would be 100 percent affordable. The company, which is non-profit, has a long history of building and managing affordable housing complexes.

Michael Wadman, vice president of Phipps Houses, went before Community Board 2’s Land Use committee Wednesday and provided an overview of the project. He said that 20% of the units would be for tenants who earn 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI), 30% for those who earn 100% of AMI and the remaining 50% for those who earn up to 130% of AMI.

“We think this is the right kind of affordability for this neighborhood and in general,” Wadman said. However, the income levels have not been finalized, he said.

The plans are still in the conceptual stage, although they are likely to be certified by the City Planning Dept. this fall, which will then start the ULURP process, required for the zoning change.

Herbert Mandel, an architect with MHG Architects, told committee members that he believed the structure would be an attractive addition to Barnett Avenue.

“We think this will be a handsome building that will improve the streetscape,” Mandel said. He said that an extra row of trees will be planted in addition to the existing street trees to provide a canopy. The building will also be set back from the road.

The apartments will be more geared toward families. More than half of the units will be either two or three bedrooms. Only 5% of the units will be studio apartments.

Existing lot

Existing lot

Some of the units will be ground floor duplexes that will provide tenants with their own garden space that looks out onto the street.

The rental costs for the lowest income bracket will be between $500 and $1,000 depending on the size of the unit. Meanwhile, for moderate income earners those figures are expected to be between $1,200 and $2,100, and for the higher end $1,600 to $2,800.

These numbers are preliminary figures.

Mandel said the building will also include space for universal pre-K.  There will be a deck on the second floor that will be for recreational purposes that will look over the rear of the property.

The developer is likely to make room for as many as 199 parking spaces. Those spaces that are not used by residents will be available to the public. There was no discussion as to cost.

Mandel said the building has been designed so it will not overwhelm the Phipps Gardens Apartments, a property that it owns and manages.

While the new building will be 10 stories, compared to the Phipps Gardens Apartment’s six, Mandel said that the floor heights of the older Phipps building are much higher so the size difference will not be that vast.

Please note: The photos were taken during a PowerPoint presentation at the community board meeting Wednesday. They are of poor quality. However, they do provide an indication of what’s planned.
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100 Comments

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K in Sunnyside

Hope they can build a garden park where Sunnyside residents can come, rest, and chat, instead of another ugly tall building.

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Sherlock

Sunnyside has been changing for years. Always a convenient local to commute to Manhattan. Car isn’t really a necessity, 7 train and RR train are convenient and a few block walk. Not sure that new bldg will be in a good location with LIRR buzzy by, not to mention flight path of LGA airport. But Mr De Blassio is all about attempting to develop, under utilized properties and approving their use. Good Luck to all in Sunnyside.

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Skillman Ave

Bar Patron: Can you believe the rents around here? Its insane. When my “Da” moved here it was $900 month for our 2 bedroom flat.

Bartender: Its hard to believe. These prices are nuts. Such a pity.
{Pours and serves a domestic draft beer}. That’ll be $8.

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Barry

Yes! More new luxury apartments for more dull, pasty, flip-flop wearing nerds from Minnesota!!!!!!!!

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Anthony Blackwood

for the moment lets forget about additional housing and work on getting more garbage bins in the neighborhood. Has anyone else noticed the major increase in garbage on our streets in sunnyside. Lack of bins and the ones that are there always seem to be over flowing. Van Brammer…HELLO

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angela

he is only there for a photo-op — I thought he just bought new garbage bins a couple of weeks ago for a price that was unbelievable and they were suppose to be all over — what happened to them

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Dana

Lady 1: How come nobody told us there’s like no stores around here except for that Deals …
Lady 2: Well I found these boots in the thrash bin behind that funny looking building with the parking for the pizza place 4 or 5 blocks away …
Lady 1: You really need Wellies to,walk through the ocean of dog poo all over …
Lady 2: Did you see they’re putting in a boxing ring in the garden behind the big beautiful park that we’re not allowed to go into …. waz up with that!?

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Phipps Management Stinks

The current Management Office in Manhattan can not manage the current Phipps Property with any level of competence. The managers they hire couldn’t get a job any place else or have been asked to leave another place due to lack of skills. Imagine this… Amazing. Hope the zoning is a NO!

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Old Lady

Agreed. Do you know of any local leaders gathering to build effective opposition to this? If you live in Phipps, perhaps you could help start a coordinated tenant response, or even a coordinated response from the property owners in Sunnyside Gardens. What about the people in the park? Would they be willing to form a resistance movement? We need some skilled, experienced and effective leaders. Unfortunately they don’t always come along.

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Angelo

A “resistance movement”?!? What is this, a hippie commune from 1968? Please join 2015.

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Reason Schwartenburger

If she doesn’t come with it, it should not be built! Where do I sign up to voice my opposition?

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Reason Schwartenburger

I get dibs on the lady in thigh-high boots and mini-dress being used to make that oversized monstrosity palatable.

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R in Sunnyside

Build a 6-story building with green space and reasonable parking. That would fit into this neighborhood.

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Anonymous Visitor

If they said they were planning a 6 story building everyone would demand it be only 4-story!

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JOReilly

“The plans are still in the conceptual stage, although they are likely to be certified by the City Planning Dept. this fall, which will then start the ULURP process, required for the zoning change.” So why does the headline and first sentence state that the ten story building “is expected” to be built on Barnett Ave? Does the author know something we don’t know about the approval process as in “the fix is in”? Or is this in the vein of a young child expecting that the tooth fairy will leave a surprise under her pillow the next morning? Or is this developer speak, to set the stage, create a mindset that the project is a foregone conclusion, so don’t bother to comment when the opportunity presents? The Jesuits, God Bless Them, taught me that words matter; who’s expectation should be identified by the writer or the copy should read “hopes to be built”.

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JOReilly

Thank you for your nice words, but as you recently told me, you’re not old. I often wonder if we’d be better off allowing the world to be ruled by “the Black Pope”?

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JOReilly

How about that! Now if you can get 43 to feature the Women’s World Cup, I’d be really impressed.

A.Bundy

WTF? $3000 to live next to the train track ghetto? ROFL! you couldn’t pay me to live right next to the LIRR tracks, let alone all the noise that goes with it. nonetheless, it should be fun on the already unsafe and massively overcrowded 7 train catering to another one thousand people. keep on building!

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Dino Velvet

I hope they keep moving the lower income people further out east. It’s time for Sunnyside to become more upscale.

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Frio Corazon

Wouldn’t it be great if they all became homeless and camped along the LIRR tracks? Then we could have a desperate population willing to work for nothing but the right to be left to die in peace. Yea! Whoppee! Bring back economic slavery. Thank the Republicans for perpetuating a permanent underclass and shoving more people into it. I’ll be living like a King.

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Dino Velvet

Never-mind camping on the tracks, they should be loaded on the LIRR and shipped out to the Hamptons. Let the rich folk deal with them, Sunnyside has had enough.

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Frio Corazon

That’s the point! We are the rich folks now!

There will be so many new homeless people–the ones who are now living in places they’ve lived their whole lives, who are too weak or stupid or naive to have done as you and I and buy–that we’ve got them. Now we don’t take our foot of their necks and we make ’em beg. They will be so cheap we can have one to do the backyard and another for the front! An upstairs, downstairs and basement maid. We can pick one or two of their ninny children and have them follow us around, bring us a beer from the fridge, find the remote, take our socks off and scratch our feet. Oh, the possibilities are endless!

We Sunnyside Gardens homeowners, who after all are the creme de la creme around here, now have our own native population weak and sick with the virus we brought here, real estate greed. They are so sick now, they will be perfectly malleable. We gotta have a meeting to make sure this variance to the land use code passes. Meet you in the park on Sunday, pretend your kids are on some team!

Dana

Why does this article not cover the innovative sustainability elements associated with this housing project? For example, Poop-Gen which will use dog waste from the streets immediately surrounding the location to generate electricity and steam for heat. I’m concerned with the proposal to use Pine-Sol as the agent to mask the smell.

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Dana

The parking issue is easily resolved. Build a structure to accommodate 2000 cars at the location of the dilapidated Phipps Houses playground where the aluminum shed was supposed to go. Name it Smiley House in honor of Jimmy Van Bramer, and use this logo 🙂 . Bam!

Reply
Dana

I hope they name the new building “The Mary Caulfield House” in honor of the individual who best represents Sunnyside’s fighting spirit.

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Mary Caulfield

Dana, I’m about to call the editor of this website and give him permission to give you a phone number where you can contact me. I’d like to talk to you.

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Mary Caulfield

Dana, I just spoke with Christian and gave him permission for you to call my unlisted home number. Please call in the evening at your earliest convenience. Use a phone that is not associated with you because my home land line has caller ID and I don’t want to know who you are. I would just like to speak to you. Respectfully, Mary Caulfield

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Mary Caulfield

It’s just an invitation for a civilized discussion on the telephone. If you are not interested, so be it. I won’t invite you again. Go in peace.

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Dana

Mary, you carefully avoided answering my question and instead made reference to an ambiguous “civilized discussion”. Please don’t mischaracterize my views on speaking with you; if I wasn’t interested in speaking with you I would not have asked about the subject of the conversation.

Mary Caulfield

I’m sorry, Dana. I thought perhaps that would be clear, as it has been to the several people I’ve talked to who read the different comments you have made in stories on this website over the past few days. They urged me to speak to you about them. I agreed and hence, the invitation.

I’d like to talk about the ethical dimensions of web anonymity and the practical ramifications for social cohesion in small communities. Aspects that interest me include both short-and long-term exacerbations of personal, neighbor-to-neighbor and family conflict, implications for traditional community organizations and stressors on public services including local political services, police people, and in the absolute worst cases, emergency medical services.

Although this is not an area I’ve given any amount of thought to until recently, I’m also interested in knowing more about the psychological profiles, if any have been developed, of persons using anonymity, especially in heated discussions in which the veneer of civility is prone to shatter, and the self-controls education and training bestows on most of us fail, unleashing the primitive, baser impulses common to the human psyche.

And while there seems to be more, that is all that comes to me now. Perhaps, being a user of web anonymity in such situations you can shed some light on the subject for me.

And, of course, any civilized subject you might like to raise.

Reply
Mary Caulfield

Hello? Dana? I haven’t gotten a call from you yet. Whenever it is convenient, i welcome it.

Angelo

Maybe you haven’t heard from Dana because he had enough of a helping of your pompous BS on this board and didn’t feel like putting in the effort to call you for seconds. People like you and Old Lady don’t get it: you are speed bumps to development and, like it or not, you are going to get run over. You may have a bit of time, but, once Court Square and LIC are fully developed, Sunnyside is inevitably next.

Dana

Mary, I was out of town for a few days and just saw your last post. I didn’t call you because I never got the phone number. But even if I had, I don’t have the time or energy to find a secret bat phone to call nor the time or energy to decipher your post about the subject of the call. Whoever wrote that convoluted statement should have explained to you that when launched that sneak attract on your neighbors in the New York Post (subsequently repeated on these pages), you made yourself open to parody. So stop the nonsense about finding out IP addresses and the implicit threats in your posts. I’m ready for you Mary, any attempted sucker punches will be met with a stiff right cross.

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Anonymous visitor

From the BBC today.

New Zealand is making cyber bullying a specific crime.

The country’s Harmful Digital Communications Bill has been approved by parliament last week and is expected to come into effect on Monday.
It means people could be fined or sent to prison for using deliberately harmful, threatening or offensive language.
An agency will also be set up to work with firms like Facebook, Google and Twitter to remove the content.
Tech companies will be expected to ask authors to remove a post before taking it down themselves if it has not been removed within 24 hours.

Critics say the law is too broad and could limit free speech but others think the threshold for prosecutions will be high.

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Emily

This isn’t progress. This is jamming people into a corner of a quiet neighborhood under the guise of “affordable” housing. That current parking lot is keeping tons of local delivery trucks off the street. Further, the Steve Madden employees park there. Where are those 200 cars going?

If you want more housing, match the size and height of Phipps. And shipshape your apt for when the train shakes your stuff off the wall.

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Anonymous Visitor

Emily, the employees at Steve Madden will have to take the subway like the rest of us. Delivery trucks with commerical plates are not allowed to park on the street overnight so its there problem to find somewhere else to park. Pretty thin argument you have, you may want to dream up another reason why you think this is bad

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Old Lady

Or, they could hire local people instead of all the young, cute, attractive, all-white women they seem to favor.

P.S. They taught us to spell in my day, it is “their” not “there” when using the plural possessive pronoun.

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R in Sunnyside

Except those “all-white women” have studied fashion/shoe design. The don’t make the shoes there – this is the design and marketing. Anyone can apply for a job there – but some jobs require a specific skill. I’m pretty sure that a lot of people in Sunnyside/Woodside don’t have those degrees they require. And I’m sure many of these people would prefer to be working in Manhattan but there is a top-notch designer who happens to keep his business in Queens.

For the record – I don’t work there. I don’t even like most of their shoes. But they are allowed to hire people who are skilled as long as they’re not discriminatory.

Here, go ahead and apply: http://www.stevemadden.com/content.jsp?pageName=CareersJobsSearch

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Old Lady

I did not know they were all designers. I concede the point regarding local people, but not the others. Thanks for that information.

Search Light

People who use facts to support their arguments are not pompous asses, they are supporting their assertion with evidence. That is how it is done.

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just a regular joe

why do people hate progress? crappy area will be developed, people will have jobs, homes. raise families. Nice.

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Anonymous Visitor

Finally……..Someone on this site that makes sense!!! Thanks regular Joe! I agree totally

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Old Lady

And seniors can just put rocks in their pockets and jump in the East River. They can ride on the back of my bike. They are so slow, so boring (always trying to teach you from their experience, I want to screw up as much as possible! Its fun!) and really, not that attractive to look at. Those wrinkles! Didn’t they ever hear of botox? a facelift? a veil? Those old ladies who hunch over and use a cane scare me. Get a burka for God’s sake!

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Anonymous Visitor

Your comment has nothing to do with the comment by Regular Joe perhaps your eyes are failing Old Lady

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Old Lady

You would be surprised at the advances in optics, young person. And only someone very young would not realize the relationship between Regular Joe’s comment and the displacement of seniors and sick people. So, while my eyes need help, your mind needs time before it can speak authoritatively on complex socioeconomic issues. I’m sure you’ll do fine. You are grappling with them now and I hope you continue to do so. Society needs people who continue the struggle to learn and grow all their lives. Best of luck.

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Anonymous Visitor

You should change your name to Old Windbag. FYI I am probably older than you, but thanks for referring to me as young person

Tom Rorb

All for more affordable housing. But 199 parking spots is far too many in an area well served by transit with plenty of pedestrians and bicycling on the rise big time. How about 50 spaces and build a few more units??? 199 far, far, far too many. The trend all across the city is to build fewer parking lots, there are some developments opting for none!

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SuperWittySmitty

Fewer cars and fewer free parking spaces mean more bikes and bike paths equals a healthier and safer Sunnyside. The future is looking brighter every day!

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Old Lady

I use my car for work and for keeping in touch with everyone in my family who spread out in many different towns on Long Island. I guess I can bike into Manhattan for work, even though my vision and reflexes are nowhere near what they were when I biked all over Manhattan in my 20s and 30s, before there were helmets, paths, etc. And, I guess after a while I’d build up the strength to carry the bike up stairs and keep it out of people’s way on the LIRR, then down stairs and ride it again to my brothers’s, cousins’, aunt’s and friends’ houses. Of course shopping at cheaper garden centers, and places like BJ’s is pretty much out. And bringing my dog with me, who makes me feel safer when I am out alone as I almost always am, is kind of out. He’s too old now to go far, and his 15 pounds gives me pains in my back if I carry him more than two or three blocks. Maybe he would get used to riding in a carrier. But, I have a one-bedroom. Where would I keep that? I’m always tripping over the bike as it is, although it makes a good coat rack in the hall. And my pretty sick, almost crippled, very broke friend, who I take to doctors, shopping, church sometimes with my car. She can just stay home. It’s her fault she didn’t make lots of money when she had her health. Oh, well. if it is well worth it to my much younger and wealthier neighbors to have more room to themselves, I am willing to cut my socializing down to those times I am strong enough to do the bike thing. And I can go back to paying higher city prices even though my income stopped rising in leaps and bounds many years ago. And really, who needs the fresh air, robust plant life and clean water you can only access with a car? That is a luxury for the rich, who am I to want it for myself?

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babster

A ten story apt bldg in that area is overkill It is such a small crowded area Have a building that fits into the area!!!!!

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Taylor

Looks like Sunnyside won’t be sunny for much longer. They just can’t keep well enough alone.

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Mike Novak

What happens to all the people who have been parking FOR YEARS in the existing lot? They get the “heave-ho” because the people in the 220 new apts get first dibs on the 199 parking spots? Any word on what the 199 spots will go for per month? OF COURSE NOT!!!

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Anonymous Visitor

Yes, Mike that’s what happens to them. They are told to leave. The only way to be guaranteed the right to use something forever is to OWN!!! Not to RENT!!!!!!

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Lady from Shanghai

So, if your life didn’t go as planned, you got sick, your family got sick, you lost your job, you had to spend your savings, and now you are just scraping by in the last decades of your life, your community should make it even harder for you to live by “bringing on” people who will price you right out of your humble home into a refrigerator box under the rail trestles on 43rd, 48th, or Woodside Avenue. Nice. Very nice. But, after all, civilizations are not judged by the way they treat the most vulnerable members of their societies are they? So why should we worry.

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Anonymous visitor

How does losing a parking spot you were rented equate to living in a cardboard box!! You are a bit dramatic!!!!

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Old Lady

Well, we all have our faults, don’t we? The connection between rising real estate prices and homelessness is well documented in other places if you care to research it. Suffice it to say that Phipps neglected that property for the entire time they owned it. That is until real estate, banking and political interests all lined up to make it profitable for them to charge human beings lots of money to live on ground that trembles when the train goes by. It’s okay, no one knows everything.

Mike Novak

Time for JVB to make the Sunnyside Gardens a Protected Zone where only homeowners and their tennants can park on the street in the “Preservation Zone”. I am sick of Long Islanders who park in the gardens and take the train into the city.

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Wrong Side of the Tracks

There are lots of places where only residents can park, such as in front of Michael Bloomberg’s house, but we disposables in Queens don’t seem to count for much. Look how quickly they are pushing us out.

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babster

I agree I see them parking in Sunnyside with plates from long island and they take up all the spots so you cant go shopping and also the snall amount of spots for neighbirhood oeople

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Fr.Ted

$2800 a month and you get a set of noise cancelling bose headphones to cancel the noise of the LIRR out your bedroom window !!!!!!!!
“down with that sort of thing ” ” Careful now “

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Anonymous Visitor

I find it funny that everyone is so up in arms about 10 apartments here and 20 apartments there when right under your nose they want to put up 220 apartments. I bet it makes you appreciate the 10 units on queens blvd and the residential that will go up where the crappy movie theater was! Doesn’t seem so bad now LOL

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Sunnysider

What kind of rendering is that? I don’t know how they got all those trees and other green area across the building? Also, are we going to get LIRR station soon?

Ah, also, stop turning Sunnyside into “affordable housing” neighborhood, I guess it’s a trick to get applications approved and buildings permitted.

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Anonymous Visitor

the prices at the higher end are the same prices for the new construction now. How is that affordable

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Mary Caulfield

Sunnyside Gardens was built as an affordable housing development in the 1920s. Concerned liberals, including Eleanor Roosevelt, formed a limited profit company and used all kinds of innovative building techniques, including putting street furniture in after all the housing on the block was built, which is why Barnett Avenue remained undeveloped all these years. The housing corporations, including Phipps, owned all the property up to the rail road, which is why they built garages near 43rd Street, tennis courts behind Phipps, until it became a parking lot sometime decades later, etc. The SGCA owned all the land on Barnett up to the tracks, including the once private road Barnett Avenue, until they got lazy and stopped closing it off for public use once a year and the street was taken over by the city.

Anyway, no one is turning it into affordable housing. It was built as affordable housing. The houses are infintesimaly small because people coming out of tenements in Manhattan would find them just fine, and they had a front and back yard, and great big common yards. It was a working man’s paradise. Almost no one but plumbers, firemen (which is what boiler keepers were called because they stoked the fires in NYC building with coal), pipe-fitters and artists lived here. In some yards you can still see the fence supports they built and attached lattice topped wire fences to, they are pipes and joints they brought home from work. They built every thing themselves. I’m proud to say my grandfather, Patrick Corrigan, who was a fireman, and his sons worked for the development corporation on weekends planting all the mature sycamores on our streets today.

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Asthmatic

What is the air quality back there? I know my furniture, just a block away from the tracks, are always covered in heavy dust.

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Bring on the Hipsters

Is it humanly possible for anyone to post anything positive on this site?
While I am also concerned with the sky rocketing prices of real estate, I also understand that nothing stays the same. If our city wasn’t evolving, growing, changing, it would be dying. This is NEW YORK CITY- the biggest and greatest city in country.
Sunnyside is going to continue to grow and people are going to continue to move out here. You can’t stop it, you can’t change it, so you should just embrace it.

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Mary Caulfield

After all, that is what the Native Americans did the the Pilgrims and all the following white immigrants. That turned out real well for them, right? Oh, wait, no, it didn’t.

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PsiKahn

More parking does not improve traffic, it actually makes it worse because it invites more car ownership in an area where it’s not needed by most. They need to stop including parking allotments in these new constructions.

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Sunnysider

That’s interesting, is there a research on this somewhere that we can all read.
I don’t think available parking space increased in sunnyside in last 20 years, but from what I’ve seen, number of cars and the amount of traffic going through Sunnyside 10-folded.
The only way to make it suitable is to make all these street parking for Sunnyside residents only, and not visitors, at least not overnight. Another option would be not to allow people park for more than 2 days at same spot, people park and never move, immediately reduces the amount of available spots for those who rely on their cars to go to work.

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PsiKahn

The concept is called induced demand. It’s often applied to roadways (the more roads you have the more people drive) but also applies to parking. Here’s a brief article that talks about it a bit but I’m sure you can find more with some digging. In fact, to improve traffic you want to make owning a car as a difficult as possible and public transit as appealing as possible. http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/03/12/parking-if-you-build-it-they-will-come-in-their-cars/

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SuperWittySmitty

I’d rather see more places for people to live (a true necessity) and fewer parking spaces. Ther are already too many cars on the road; they’re dangerous, they’re noisy and cause pollution, and they take up too much space. Many cars are only used a few hours a week and take up valuable space for the average Sunnysider to utilize (and remember, the average Sunnysider does not have a car and probably will rarely even need one!) Why do we need to let you have additional space for your barely-needed SUV? This nice building will probably attract young, pleasant, and good-looking you people (like those tow ladies in the artist’s sketch above.) That’s was Sunnyside needs, and to heck with all this nonsense about parking.

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Mary Caulfield

We need to restore the empty building on 48th and Barnett to its original use, a parking garage for Sunnyside Gardens Residents. JVB, can you help us with that?

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nevercs2shwthertrucolors

what this neighborhood needs is a recreation facility, not more housing;
& yeah, if you want to address housing, first deal with the existing structures like the old warehouses. There’s more than enough space for the ‘architect’ to design something out of those. A Recreation facility that compliments the area residents’ needs for affordable living to reduce crime, vandalism, giving young and older folks places to go and i.e., exercise, meet-up, like a club.

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JOReilly

Great idea, a Lost Battalion Hall type facility for Sunnyside, or the big brand new Parks Dept Recreation Facility that was built in Flushing Meadows Park.

Anonymous Visitor

Except there is one problem. The person or company that owns the property does not want to build you a recreational facility. It is their property and they want to build housing which is their right! Why don’t you buy a piece of land and put up such a place??

KarsForKidz

zipcar hipsters and grafitti-covered mudanza trucks can bite it. and the cracker in the volvo too. housing. oh and die you yuppie scum

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Krissi

Ugh can ANYONE build anything pretty any more? Queens in particular has such awful new developments.

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Anonymous

You’re right! Queens is SUPER TACKY. and what the hell with all the CHROME?! it’s pitiful. no taste.

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crackerjack

I know they said there will be 199 parking spaces, but still, parking and traffic congestion are already a problem. What we need are more affordable parking options.

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Sunnyside Local

With a commanding view of the Home Depot lot and all the noise of the adjacent railroad tracks. That’ll be worth three grand a month.

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Emily

How will Sunnyside Gardens handle this? That’s a one-way street at the end. It’s already too much back there.

Reply

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