Sunnyside Has Rich History
Sunnyside, with its bustling Queens Boulevard, Greenpoint Avenue, 46th Street and other popular thoroughfares, is a great place to shop and live. Residents of the sought-after Sunnyside Gardens Community will eagerly attest to such a testimonial. Sunnyside Gardens was one of America’s first planned communities. Looking at it today, it may be hard to believe that the area was once vast farm lands and thick swamps.
There are several speculations of how Sunnyside’s name came to be. In the 1800s, the land was cultivated by French settlers. Among the settlers was the Bragraws family, who supposedly named their land “Sunnyside Hill Farms”.
Another possible origin, may have been in 1850 from a hotel in the area called the “Sunnyside Roadhouse Hotel”.
The Pennsylvania Railroad ran through the area and eventually bought out a large chunk of the land at the turn of the 20th century. By 1910, the Sunnyside Yards were open, where fragments from the early railroad days can supposedly still be found buried deep in the earth.
The Queens Boulevard we know has been a central point of Sunnyside since then, as the Queensboro Bridge was opened around the same time. Sunnyside then began to define its borders, which the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce describes as “bounded to the north by the Sunnyside Yards, to the east by Calvary Cemetery and 51st Street, to the south by the Long Island Expressway and to the west by Van Dam Street”.
Now, the area has become largely residential, with communities like Sunnyside Gardens defining it. It has become a gem of Queens’ diverse demographics and remains a valued part of the borough’s community.