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Previewing NYC's Next Big Megadevelopment

Sunnyside Yard, a 180-acre railroad yard in Queens, is in the initial stages of a planning process that may eventually bring development surpassing the scale of Hudson Yards. This time, it is hoped, there will be greater focus on affordability.
December 26, 2018, 5am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Describing Sunnyside Yard as "a grayed-out zone in the heart of western Queens, a walled-off, whale-shaped expanse with its tail in Long Island City and its snout nuzzling Woodside," Justin Davidson gives us a taste of what's to come as New York City mulls plans to cover the entire site with a platform and open the space to developers.

"The biggest surprise is that it will be a hilltop town, because of what lies beneath. Streets and parks will arch over the thicket of trains, tracks, and sheds, meet the few automobile bridges that now span the site, then puff up between them like a quilted comforter," Davidson writes. 

Leading the charge on a very long-term project is former Manhattan director fo city planning Vishaan Chakrabarti. As of right now, "the de Blasio administration is treating [Hudson Yards] as the negative model for Sunnyside. The mayor is insisting on plentiful affordable housing rather than mostly ultra-deluxe condos." Chakrabarti's current thinking involves "a kind of Little Berlin, with low-rise apartment buildings snaking around linked courtyards and abundant open space apportioned into squares, ball fields, playgrounds, and linear parks."

But all of this is subject to change, Davidson says, and today's needs and fads may not reflect what eventually gets built decades from now. Meanwhile, the de Blasio administration is pushing the multibillion-dollar platform project forward.

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Published on Monday, December 17, 2018 in Intelligencer - New York Magazine
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