Sunnyside is the unrecognized star of western Queens. A small, middle-class neighborhood, Sunnyside has a homogeneous urban look with many six-story buildings. One section, Sunnyside Gardens, has a more suburban feel. Also it's rich with transportation and restaurants.
So close to Manhattan and the Empire State Building that you can pinch it, Sunnyside is 15 minutes from Midtown by the #7 subway. It rides high above multi-lane Queens Boulevard, which splits the neighborhood in half.
Neighborhood Boundaries and Main Streets
To Sunnyside's south, the Long Island Expressway is the border with Blissville. To the west, the huge Sunnyside Railyards separate the neighborhood from Long Island City and Astoria.
To the east there's New Cavalry Cemetery and, roughly along 50th Avenue, Woodside, which is more a partner than a neighbor.
Main streets are: roaring Queens Boulevard, bustling shopping on Greenpoint Avenue, and quieter commercial strips on 43rd and Skillman Avenues. Industry takes over west of 39th Street.
A planned community, Sunnyside Gardens started in 1924, its builders inspired by the English garden city movement. The Gardens is a mix of attached single-family, two-family, and three-family homes and one co-op, along tree-lined streets, north of Queens Boulevard.
On several of Sunnyside Gardens's seven plus blocks, homes share a common interior garden. Residents also share a private park. The Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance works for neighborhood landmark status.
Sunnyside Real Estate and Apartments (Updated - March 2006)
- Co-op Sales - Most in six-story elevator buildings
- One-bedroom: $150,000+
- Two-bedroom: $200,000+
- Rentals - Six-story elevator buildings and six-family buildings (three-story walk-ups):
- One-bedroom: $950-$1,200
- Two-bedroom: $1,250-$1,600, less common
- Prices tend up north of Queens Blvd.
- Sales in Sunnyside Gardens - Commands a premium.
- One-family: $600,000+
- Two-family: $700,000+
- Three-family: $900,000+
- Rentals in Sunnyside Gardens
- One-bedroom: $1,000-$1,300
- Two-bedroom: $1,400-$1,800
Sunnyside was farmland until the early 1900s, when the Queensboro Bridge turned farmers into land sellers. Sunnyside Gardens got its start in 1924, and has always attracted actors, writers, and theater folks. Many of the larger buildings in the area went up in the 1930s.
Once strongly Irish, Sunnyside in the last 40 years has welcomed South Americans, Koreans, Turks, Romanians, and the new Irish immigrants. The local St. Pat's for All Parade has brought media attention to the area.
Restaurants and Bars
Queens Boulevard, Greenpoint Avenue, and Skillman Avenue are the streets for eats with lots of local ethnic faves.
Homey Korean BBQ joint Shin Chon Kalbi (43-01 Queens Blvd, 718-706-9205) serves a wicked tasty jaeyuk (pork and veggie stir-fry) for lunch with banchan.
Mama's Empanadas (42-18 Greenpoint Ave) is yummy for meat-stuffed empanadas, and an apple pie empanada for dessert.
French cruller love at Alpha Donuts(45-16 Queens Blvd), and Baruir's (40-07 Queens Blvd) roasts mighty coffee.
Parks and Green Spaces
Sunnyside lacks a green public park. It's a bummer, though Thomas P. Noonan Playground (Greenpoint and 47th Aves, 43rd St) (once known as Thomson Hill Park) with its rainbow fountain and Lou Ladati Playground (Skillman Ave and 43rd St) are fine for jungle gyms and basketball courts.
The private Sunnyside Park (39th Ave and 49th St) is a delicious slice of three green acres. Dues-paying Sunnyside Gardens residents also contribute their labor to keep it so nice.
Things To Do and Pubs and Rock
Thalia Spanish Theatre (4117 Greenpoint Ave) energizes with quality, original musicals.
The art collective Flux Factory (3838 43rd St) has the most fun art events in Queens at their warehouse home.
Like Queens MoMA, the Museum for African Art is headed to Manhattan and all but closed.
Shed light on Irish culture via pub row (Queens Blvd, 41st-48th Sts), starting, even staying, at Gaslight (4317 Queens Blvd) and its backyard garden. Rock en espanol at La Kueva (39-31 Queens Blvd).
Crime and Safety
Sunnyside is quite safe. As always, keep your wits about you, especially at night. It's a bad idea to walk alone in the industrial areas in the dark. Ironically, for the home of so many taxi companies, it's impossible to get a taxi.
The 108th Precinct (including Long Island City) reported the following crimes for the year-to-date (12/18/05): 2 murders (3 in 2004), 9 rapes (9 in 2004), 186 robberies (194 in 2004), 69 felonious assaults (60 in 2004), and 219 burglaries (391 in 2004).
- Issues and Worries: Lack of parking, traffic congestion, and school overcrowding.
- Library: 43-06 Greenpoint Ave, 718-784-3033
- Schools: In the 11104 zip code, there are two public elementary schools. IndieSchools.org reports success at P.S. 150 and at P.S. 199 Maurice A. Fitzgerald School.
- Subways: 7 (local) - 46th St/Bliss, 40th St/Lowery St
- Long Island Railroad (LIRR): In nearby Woodside at Roosevelt and 61st Ave.
- Parking: South of and along Queens Blvd is tight. Try north of the Boulevard.
- Parking Garages and Lots: Queens Boro Parking Corp (5025 Barnett Ave, 718-478-3222)
- Movie Theaters: New Center Cinema, 4217 Queens Blvd, 718-361-6869; bargain matinees, bargain Tuesdays
- Shopping: Tulcingo Bakery (43-13 Greenpoint Ave) sells Mexican treats and pinatas. Kim's Fish and Lobster (42-13 Queens Blvd). Pioneer Supermarket (45-60 46th St) is super convenient, but Pathmark (42-02 Northern Blvd, Long Island City) has a parking lot.
- Post Office: 4515 44th St
- Hospitals: Elmhurst Hospital Center, 79-01 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373, 334-4000
- Police Station: 108th Precinct, 5-47 50th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11105, 718-784-5411
- Banks: Many banks have branches on Queens Blvd, including Washington Mutual (46-10 Queens Blvd) and Chase Manhattan (47-11 Queens Blvd).
- Community Board 2: 43-22 50th St, Woodside, NY 11377, 718-533-8773
- Business Organization: Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, /o LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Ave (suite M222), Long Island City, NY 11101, 718-482-6053
- Sunnyside Zip Code: 11104