New York Neighborhood Profile: Sunnyside - Queens

The Sunnyside Sign
Photo Credit: © John Roleke

Sunnyside is the unrecognized star of western Queens. A small, middle-class neighborhood, rich with access to transportation and interesting restaurants, Sunnyside has an urban look with many six-story buildings. One section, Sunnyside Gardens, has a more suburban feel. The neighborhood's zip code is 11104.

Very close to Manhattan and the Empire State Building, 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.

Sunnyside Gardens

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 is dedicated to the preservation, history, and liveability of the Sunnyside Gardens National Register Historic District. 

Sunnyside Real Estate and Apartments

According to Neighborhood Scout, the Sunnyside median real estate price is $911,930, which is more expensive than 87.1 percent of the neighborhoods in New York and 95.9 percent of the neighborhoods in the U.S.

The average rental price in Sunnyside is currently $1,913, based on Neighborhood Scout's analysis. Rents are currently lower in price than 45.7 percent of New York neighborhoods.

Sunnyside housing consists of small (studio to two bedrooms) to medium sized (three or four bedrooms) apartment buildings and high-rise apartments, with many being historic buildings.

History

The name "Sunnyside" originates from the time of the Bragaw family, French Huguenots who purchased the land in 1713 and named their holdings "Sunnyside Hill."

Sunnyside was farmland until the early 1900s when the Queensboro Bridge was built and the improved access turned farmers into land sellers. Sunnyside Gardens got its start in 1924 and has always attracted creative types like actors and writers. 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 new Irish immigrants. The local St. Pat's for All Parade, with a focus on valuing diversity, has brought media attention to the area.

Restaurants and Pubs

Queens Boulevard, Greenpoint Avenue, and Skillman Avenue are the streets for eats with lots of local ethnic favorites.

  • Saffron Garden is an Indian restaurant on Skillman Avenue offering vegan dishes, traditional curries, and tandoori specialties.
  • Arriba Arriba on Queens Boulevard attracts a young crowd and serves up Mexican food paired with margaritas.
  • Vera Thai, also on Queens Boulevard, has Thai food with a mix-and-match curry selection.
  • Tangra Fusion on Queens Boulevard fuses Chinese and Indian cuisine a well as traditional Chinese fare in an elegant setting.
  • Find a great selection of brews and pub grub on pub row (Queens Boulevard, 41st to 48th Streets), starting, even staying, at Gaslight (4317 Queens Boulevard) and its backyard garden. Rock out Latin style at La Kueva (39-31 Queens Boulevard).

    Parks and Green Spaces

    Sunnyside lacks a landscaped public park. The Thomas P. Noonan Playground (Greenpoint and 47th Avenues, 43rd Street) with its rainbow fountain and Lou Ladati Playground (Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street) are fine for jungle gyms and basketball courts.

    The private Sunnyside Park (39th Avenue and 49th Street) 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

    Sunnyside is an has an artistic, eclectic vibe. Pubs, thrift store shopping, and art are on the list of things to do in the neighborhood.

    Thalia Spanish Theatre (4117 Greenpoint Avenue) energizes with quality, original musicals. It's considered a home for Spanish culture.

    The art collective Flux Factory (3838 43rd Street) has the most fun art events in Queens at their warehouse home.

    Crime and Safety

    Sunnyside is quite safe. As always, be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. It's a bad idea to walk alone in the industrial areas in the dark. Ironically, for being the home of so many taxi companies, it's impossible to get a taxi. The 108th Precinct (including Long Island City) reports indicate a reduction in crime over time.

    Neighborhood Basics and Services

    Concerns about the neighborhood include lack of parking, traffic congestion, and school overcrowding while the positives are safety, diversity and the historic Sunnyside Gardens complex. Neighborhood resources and services include:

    • Public Library: 43-06 Greenpoint Avenue
    • Schools: In the 11104 zip code, there are two public elementary schools: P.S. 150 and P.S. 199 Maurice A. Fitzgerald School.
    • Transportation: Subways: 7 (local) - 46th Street/Bliss, 40th Street/Lowery Street and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR)—in nearby Woodside at Roosevelt and 61st Avenue.
    • Parking: South of and along Queens Boulevard is tight. Try north of the Boulevard. This parking map has updated information on lots and street parking.
    • Movie Theaters: Regal Entertainment Group has signed a 38,000-square-foot lease for a theater in the building at 38-01 Queens Boulevard and should open in 2019.
    • Post Office: 4515 44th Street
    • Hospital: Elmhurst Hospital Center, 79-01 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 113730
    • Police Station: 108th Precinct, 5-47 50th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11105
    • Banks: Many banks have branches on Queens Boulevard, including Washington Mutual (46-10 Queens Boulevard) and Chase Manhattan (47-11 Queens Boulevard).
    • Community Board 2: 43-22 50th Street, Woodside, NY 11377