Tag Archives: Sunnyside Gardens

Landmarks Preservation Commission rules against Aluminaire House move to Sunnyside Gardens

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Rendering Courtesy of Campani and Schwarting Architects

Sunnyside Gardens residents and local officials have won the battle against the aluminum exhibition house and residential development looking for a new site to call home.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) ruled last week against the application to relocate the Aluminaire House – an all-aluminum, historic home built in 1931 for a New York City exhibition- to the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street in the landmarked district of Sunnyside Gardens.

“After a careful review of the proposal the Commissioners concluded that the relocation of the Aluminaire House to the proposed site within the historic district was not appropriate,” said the LPC in a statement. “The applicant will have the opportunity to present a revised application to the Commissioners.”

Under the proposal,the house, currently dismantled and in storage, would be surrounded by an eight-unit apartment building. Property owner Harry Otterman, who hoped to construct the building, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Many residents and local officials have been opposed to the home because they said the structure is out of character with the landmarked neighborhood’s brick homes. 

Both the City’s Historic District Council and Community Board 2 voted against the proposal in September.



Slow zones coming to western Queens

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Johann Hamilton

Residents in western Queens will soon be able to cross their streets more safely.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will install slow zones in Sunnyside Gardens, Woodside, and Sunnyside south of Queens Boulevard, according to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. The slow zones, set for 2015, will be designed through input from the community.

“By installing these two slow zones in western Queens, we will have tremendous impact on improving the safety of pedestrians who walk along heavily trafficked corridors in our neighborhoods,” said Van Bramer. “I believe it is vital to use every tool we have to protect the lives of residents on our city’s streets.”

The locations, which are part of 15 communities chosen to receive slow zones over the next three years, were selected based on the DOT’s evaluation on crash history, community support, the proximity of schools and seniors and day care centers, along with other data.

The Sunnyside slow zone would be bordered by 36th Avenue, Queens Boulevard, Greenpoint Avenue, 49th Street and parts of the Long Island and Brooklyn-Queens Expressways. The Sunnyside Gardens and Woodside Slow Zone would be surrounded by 43rd Street, Barnett Avenue, 58th Street and a part of Queens Boulevard.

The goal of the Neighborhood Slow Zone program is to lower the number of crashes and “to enhance quality of life by reducing cut through traffic and traffic noise in residential neighborhoods,” according to the fact sheet.

Slow zones are marked with high-visibility blue signs that warn drivers at all streets entering the zones. Each area has a speed limit of 20 mph and includes speed bumps and eight-foot-high letters on the road that read “20 MPH.”

“Speeding is the single greatest contributing factor in traffic fatalities in our city,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last month. “Slow zones have shown proven results in curbing dangerous driving and we want more neighborhoods to benefit from the program.”

According to the DOT, a slow zone has also been proposed for Jackson Heights in 2014.



Sunnyside Gardens residents don’t want aluminum house in neighborhood

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Campani and Schwarting Architects

Sunnyside Gardens residents and local officials are saying no to an aluminum exhibition house and residential development looking for a new site to call home.

The Aluminaire House – an all-aluminum, historic home built in 1931 for a New York City exhibition – is proposed to be relocated to the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street in the landmarked district of Sunnyside Gardens. The house would be surrounded by an eight-unit apartment building which property owner Harry Otterman is also looking to construct.

Although architects Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani of Campani and Schwarting Architects, who run the Aluminaire House Foundation, believe the house would be a “positive contribution to the cultural milieu of the historic district,” many of those opposed say the structure is out of character with the neighborhood’s brick homes.

“The Aluminaire House is wrong for our neighborhood and quite frankly the town housing is all inconsistent with the historic district,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who lives in the area.

“The consistency in the colors and in the materials is essential to what creates that sense of place, and while the Aluminaire House is terrific and interesting, it is not the right neighborhood [for it].”

The nearly 23’ wide by 29’ deep aluminum house was dismantled and is currently in storage on Long Island. If constructed in Sunnyside Gardens, it would serve as a museum and gallery open to the public.

Yet, many residents do not believe a museum is appropriate for the area and would only promote vandalism.

The Sunnyside Gardens property was previously used as an outdoor nursery and playground, one of the few Depression Era play areas left in the city. The property was sold in 2007 after it became a part of the historic district. Residents hope to bring the park back to life to be used by future generations.

“The playground has been used by the community for generations, just as it was intended, and it can continue to serve for the community as a play area and community garden,” said Herbert Reynolds of the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance.  “It [the Aluminaire House] would deserve a far better future with more forethought than to force it upon our neighborhood where it’s not only out of place, but it’s simply unwanted by the great majority of our neighbors.”

The City’s Historic Districts Council met with Campani and Schwarting Architects on September 12 and did not support the plan. On September 19, Community Board 2 voted against the proposal to bring both the Aluminaire house and the residential development to the neighborhood stating it “contrasts to the surrounding community.”

Although the opposition from the community has been heard, Schwarting said they are still looking to bring the Aluminaire House to the area and will wait to see what the Landmarks Preservation Commission decides on October 15.

“We understand the community is concerned, but I feel that everyone had already made up their mind and I was not able to convince them that this will be a very positive contribution to the neighborhood visually and culturally,” said Schwarting. “It will not be an ugly duckling that everyone is worried about once it is there. We will see what Landmarks thinks.”


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Thursday: Mostly cloudy in the morning, then overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. High of 86. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Thursday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers. Low of 68. Winds from the SW at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NNW after midnight. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: A View From The Bridge

A View From The Bridge, Arthur Miller’s fiercely compelling drama about love, belonging and betrayal, based on a true Brooklyn “love” story, will be at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City from September 12-21. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Mayoral primary politics resumes after 1-day silence

After abstaining from campaigning on Sept. 11, the candidates emerging from New York City’s primary elections are expected to break their silence. Read more: AP

Seamstress sues Brooks Brothers for $30M, claims sexual harassment at Queens factory

There’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing sexually harassing a seamstress at the venerable Brooks Brothers factory in Queens, a lawsuit charges. Read more: New York Daily News

Push made to designate 9/11 a national holiday

For more than a decade, people have come to the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11 to reflect and remember. But this year, one voice among many called for something greater. Read more: CBS New York

Sunnyside Gardens residents seek to foil metal Aluminaire House from coming to their historic district

The owners of a futuristic aluminum-and-steel home are struggling to drum up support to bring the noted building to a brick historic district. Read more: New York Daily News

New York plans to opt out of new insurance rules

New York’s top financial regulator said the state plans to opt out of new U.S. insurance rules as the framework does not compel life insurers to hold adequate capital reserves for paying out customer claims. Read more: Reuters


Queens pol’s home broken into

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A weekend break-in at his home has left Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer looking for justice — and to prevent other families from meeting the same fate.

On Saturday, Van Bramer, who was away from his home at the time, received a call from his next door neighbor informing him that his Sunnyside Gardens home had been broken into overnight.

The burglar had opened the front and back doors with a crowbar, causing damage, and left a window open. A bicycle, some cash and jewelry he had belonging to his mother were stolen.

Although Van Bramer is still surveying his home to make sure nothing else has been taken, he said the main issue that should be addressed is stopping such a thing from happening to others in his community.

“Material things can always be replaced,” said Van Bramer. “What’s important is that these guys get caught and that we stop this from happening to any other family.”

He said the situation is particularly dangerous because the burglar had entered the home in the middle of the night, when most people are sleeping.

Van Bramer, who called the burglars “cowards,” is working with the 108th Precinct to investigate the break-in.

“We can’t have criminals terrorize this neighborhood,” said Van Bramer. “I won’t rest until they are in jail.”