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Real EstateCity LivingQueens

City Living: Sunnyside

Frank Sinatra must have been referring to a well-known Queens neighborhood when he urged listeners to direct their feet to the sunny side of the street. And he was probably in on a really good real estate tip.

Sunnyside, the quaint and affordable neighborhood in western Queens, is situated in a prime location just minutes from Manhattan, but seems like a world away.

Ask the locals, theyll tell you: Its so close to everything but you dont feel like you are; its the best of both worlds and thats what makes it unique, said Carmela Massimo, associate broker at Welcome Home Real Estate in Sunnyside.

Daniel Yi, a local business owner who grew up in the neighborhood, echoed her statement.

It definitely doesnt feel like its a neighborhood thats so close to the city; it feels like a distinct Queens area in terms of the community and it being so diverse, he said.

At the Lance Corporal Thomas P. Noonan Jr. playground, adults sit around reading, people-watching and catching up, and children and teenagers participate in games as the Empire State Building looms in the backdrop serving as a grand reminder that the charming nabe is only a few train stops from Midtown on the 7 train.

Settled snugly among Long Island City, Astoria, Woodside and Greenpoint, Sunnyside boomed after the opening of the Queensboro Bridge in the early 1900s. Back then, many Irish immigrants moved into the area.

Remnants of times passed still remain in the neighborhood by way of old street names which coexist with now numbered streets, pubs and old-timers, who while sitting playing chess at Noonan Park will not hesitate to pause and give short history lessons filled with nostalgia.

Now, the jagged Queens neighborhood is a brimming melting pot of Hispanics, Caucasians, Koreans, Chinese, Turkish, Indians, Romanians and Irish. And theres a restaurant for every ethnicity.

The neighborhood is saturated with apartment buildings and multifamily homes along with single-families and co-ops, many of which sit on tree-lined blocks.

And a smaller exclusive enclave and historic district, Sunnyside Gardens nestled more on the northern side of the area and runs from 43rd to part of 49th Street between Skillman and 39th avenues features small but charming one-family homes, most in the form of two-story attached brick buildings.

--LISA FRASER