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Rafia IslamHistory of New York Sunnyside: On the Verge of Recognition?Sunnyside is a diverse, middle class neighborhood in the heart of Queens, NY. It started out fairly small, and has not gained much attention until recently. Before, it was simply a residential and relatively quaint area that people would simply pass through. When visiting New York, tourists would probably opt to go to Manhattan or Brooklyn, or a more well known part of Queens. However, with the close proximity to Manhattan Sunnyside was bound to get noticed sooner or later. In fact, Sunnyside is only about 15 minutes away from Manhattan on the train. Because of this, people who cannot afford to live in Manhattan are opting for Sunnyside which is a much cheaper and less commercial option. This may be good for millennials looking for a place to live that is fairly close to Brooklyn or Manhattan, but for residents of Sunnyside as the once not as recognized, quaint neighborhood is subjected to more fame the rent and cost of living skyrockets, especially for immigrant families.Picture of the borders of Sunnyside. Credited from Google MapsSunnyside borders Woodside from the northeast side, Maspeth from the Southeast, Hunters Point from the West and Greenpoint from the Southwest side. Because of all of these more well known neighborhoods surround Sunnyside, it is not often recognized. To a tourist Sunnyside seems like a small, quiet residential community.  Sometimes Sunnyside is considered part of Long Island City, and other times it isn’t. Officially, Sunnyside is listed as a part of the Long Island City community, but residents of Sunnyside often separate the two communities. Historical AnalysisSunnyside started comparatively later than many other more recognized parts of New York, and it was extremely small at  the beginning. In fact, it all started when a family of French Huguenot settlers bought land from the Dutch in 1713. The location of the estate earned it the name “Sunnyside Hills”, because from the estate the family got a great view of the sunrises and sunsets. For a while, Sunnyside remained as one estate, and then in 1840 a hotel emerged near what would now be called 37 avenue and Northern Boulevard. It was named the “Sunnyside Hotel” after the estate. The clients of the hotel included visitors of nearby cemeteries, but occasionally people who were attending events such as the National Race Course in Corona stayed at the hotel. (Photograph of ad for the Sunnyside Hotel. Credited from Forgotten NY website)Slowly, but surely more and more inns and farms began forming in the 1800s, and soon a small community had sprouted and adopted the name Sunnyside from the estate and hotel. Sunnyside, however, was still fairly new at the time, so the leadership and organization was lacking greatly. In comparison to places like Woodside which was far more advanced, Sunnyside seemed extremely annoying, and travellers nicknamed the place “Nuisance Land”. Up until about 1902, Sunnyside remained as a tiny community of a few scattered farms and inns. In the next three years, the Pennsylvania Railroad brought up much of the land south of Northern Boulevard, and leveled the land. This gave way to the Sunnyside Rail Yards in 1910. After that, the Queensboro Bridge was built, and soon after, Queens Boulevard came into existence. This chain of advancements made Sunnyside a good place to live, mainly because of its closeness to Manhattan. Soon, working class families began to move in, and the high demand in real estate lead to the Sunnyside Gardens project. The aim of the project was to create a residential community with safe and clean streets, which allowed for people to live in a close-knit neighborhood. The founders of the company in charge of the Gardens Project included Eleanor Roosevelt, Lewis Mumford,  Clarence S. Stein, and Henry Wright. The Sunnyside Gardens soon became home to middle class families and especially attracted artists and writers. In fact, it was so popular among creative thinkers, that it earned the nickname the “Greenwich Village Annex”. According to the Forgotten NY website,  “A City Housing Corporation survey of homeowners in 1928 counted 184 blue collar workers (mechanics, chauffeurs, restaurant workers) and 355 white collar workers, including tradesmen, salesmen, government employees, teachers, social workers, lawyers, and doctors”. Even then, Sunnyside was amazingly diverse in terms of the types of people who lived there, and as time went on more and more immigrants found themselves settling into the community, and now much of the population is made up of immigrants. Sunnyside became a great alternative to Manhattan, and people who could not afford to live in Manhattan opted to live in Sunnyside. The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce states that “as the neighborhood became more suburban, those who grew up in Sunnyside commonly moved to Long Island and upstate New York in search of rural areas reminiscent of the neighborhood’s more pastoral days” . Soon, Sunnyside began to become more and more gentrified. Today, a small one bedroom apartment can go for as high as $2,000 per month. Tenants who have lived in Sunnyside for decades are forced to move out of their homes, because the rent is way too high, and landlords are beginning to fix up the old apartments for the influx of millenials and young entrepreneurs looking for a place to live. Residents of Sunnyside are becoming quite frustrated with the way things are looking for them. “Soon, we might have to just leave”, says Bob James, a, elderly man who has been living in Sunnyside for almost fifty years. He had moved to Sunnyside from Germany when he was about twenty years old with his family, and has lived in the same apartment complex this whole time. He says that Sunnyside has all of the necessities that he needs for his simple lifestyle. Bob comes to the Sunnyside Library every  week to play chess with his friends. He says that he likes it here, and  it will be difficult to  find somewhere “especially at his old age”. Many elderly people have stories similar to Bob’s, and are not willing to move out of their cozy homes.In addition, there are many immigrants in Sunnyside who are not able to support their families with what little income they make, and are backed into a corner. On one hand, they cannot afford to live in Sunnyside, and on the other they cannot afford  to move back, because the whole reason that they are sacrificing so much is so their children can have a better chance at a great future. Immigrants, documented and undocumented alike, are forced to take desperate measures such as selling land that they owned, or taking two or three jobs at a time in order to imply put food on the table and clothes on their children’s’ backs.  (Map of Sunnyside Gardens. Credited from Forgotten NY. )SItes of Interest One of the many positive influences of the constant influx of immigrants is that there are many different kinds of cultural facilities and restaurants that locals and tourists alike can go to when on a night out. In the span of five blocks, you can eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, look at handmade jewelry and grab drinks with your friends at the bar. International family owned restaurants take up space on every block, and bars appear frequently as well.Every Saturday from June to December (8:00 am to 3:00 pm) there is a green market in front of Skillman park where you can buy organic and fresh fruits, vegetable and other staples including honey, bread and jam. Each stall specializes in a group of fruit or vegetable or other product, so there is much variety for the consumer. The Calvary Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the country. It has been here since 1848 and holds more than 3 million bodies, whose final resting place has a view of Manhattan’s skyline.Sunnyside Gardens opened in 1926, and still flourishes today is the Sunnyside Gardens Park. The park is privately owned by the residents of the Gardens. However, for $126 per year and volunteer work for 12 hours anyone can gain membership into the three-acre park. Some of the recreational assets of the park include a wading pool, a tennis court and a woodland area with multiple grills and picnic tables. What makes the park so special is that it is one of the only two residential private park in the city. Another landmark in Sunnyside is the library in Greenpoint. It is located conveniently in a place where most people can access it. It is in relatively proximity to at least three schools, so there are many people who go there after school. It has been in Sunnyside in for many years, enough for thousands of different people from extremely different backgrounds and walks of life pass through the doors. It is full of archives and collections of historical documents that help researchers everyday. The library regularly holds events and activities for the people who go there. It is a place where many children learn to read their first books, and has customers ranging from toddlers to senior citizens.Data and AnalysisSunnyside is a part of Queens District 2, and about 56.0% of the residents are foreign born. This is a relatively high percentage compared to other parts of New York. According to a 2010 census the three highest race and origin populations in the district are White ( about 63,271) Asian (about 15,974) and Hispanic (about 21,156). The immigrant population is high in this area, and as a result many of the residents may have a heavy rent burden. As a result 45.4% of the population  spend 35% or more of their income on rent. In Sunnyside rent is incredibly high, and is only increasing. This increase in rent is a result of the considerably low crime rate (only 1,046 major felonies as of 2016), the cleanliness of the streets and the conveniency of the location. In fact, it only takes most residents about 38 minutes to commute to work.While all of these factors are fair, and should obviously imply a higher rent than that of other less safe and clean neighborhoods, many immigrants are feeling as if they will be forced to move if the rent gets any higher.  “The landlords are purposely raising the rent so we are forced to move out, and they can charge for even higher rent. That is great for him, but for families like mine, we might be forced to move back to Bangladesh” says Addan Rahman. Addan came to America in 1994 for his three children to get a better chance at education. Addan is the breadwinner in his large family, and he drives a taxi and works at a grocery store part time in order to feed his family. He says that what little money he is able to earn is used up by rent, food and other basic necessities.  Addan is just one person among thousands of others who can barely support their families, with the rent burden becoming worse and worse.According to the data from a 2010 census of the median household incomes, the income of most families in Sunnyside ranges from about $36k to $75K. There are almost no incomes higher than 100K, and with the cost of living increasing by the day, Sunnyside is becoming harder and harder to live in for senior citizens and older residents who do not make as much money as they need to. Because of the low income and high cost of living many residents are forced to move away, or go bankrupt. Other than the rent rising tremendously, Sunnyside like all other neighborhoods has much to improve on. Additional pressing issues that face the community board are healthcare services, recreational activities and schools. Many residents argue that with the high population of senior citizens in the area home healthcare and nursing services should be provided, as many elderly citizens cannot leave their homes. In addition, homecare should be made more affordable for the elderly, and more accessible. There are about 13,701 families in Sunnyside which makes up about 50% of the population. With the high population of families there are a lot of children. Because of this it makes sense for there to be a concern about school and education, which is one of the main issues in the community.  In addition, the community also wants a multi service youth facility for after school programs, and the issue has been pending for the past few years. However, the community board insists that there is no funding and space for such a plan. Even so, without anything to do after school and during free time, the youth of Sunnyside get bored and turn to troublesome activities for entertainment. In a New York Times article called “Narcotics Are Complicating Sunnyside’s Problems” by Fred Ferretti, it talks about how teenagers and young adults are taking drugs, which led to two school children dying of an overdose. Many of the people who are interviewed after the incidents claim that because of the lack of recreational activities, the youth in Sunnyside turn to drugs as a way of filling their time.”We have a large drug problem,” said Mrs. Joan McDougall, president of the Sunnyside?Long Island City Woodside Civic Association. “In our area there are a lot of O.D.’s.” In fact, the Greenpoint park, up until a few years ago was filled with drug addicted teenagers. They made it almost impossible for children and parents to come to the park. The drug problem has been cut back immensely, but there are still teenagers in other areas of the neighborhood waiting to pounce on an innocent kid to try and sell some drugs. This problem caused two of the largest schools in the community (I.S. 125 and P.S. 199) to open after school programs for the students. In addition, the nearby Catholic schools also have extra curricular activities for the youth. However, that is not nearly enough to keep the many growing teenagers busy. The residents of Sunnyside tried to push for more recreational centers and things such as swimming pools and the like, however the higher ups say that there is no space, because of the amount of factories. Additionally, there was drug information and counseling service, but it was abruptly shut down for lack of volunteers. In an otherwise relatively clean (in terms of crime) neighborhood, drugs are one of the main issues. This is why many residents are pushing for a police precinct that is closer to Sunnyside.Fun FactsDuring the Revolutionary War, the estate and other farms in the area were occupied by British troops. Lewis Mumford, who was one of the founders of the Sunnyside Gardens project, was also one of the

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