“There is urgent need of improvement of the Sunnyside Terminal district at Queens Plaza in Long Island City.”
These words don’t come from the study released this week by the NYC Economic Development Corporation looking at decking over the rail yard. Instead, they were written 86 years ago for RPA’s Regional Plan for New York and Its Environs, otherwise known as the first regional plan.
In Vol. II of the first plan, published in 1931, RPA called for the construction of a new transportation terminal and office building “of a size that would dominate all this part of the Borough of Queens.”
Today, the potential for development at Sunnyside Yards continues to beckon planners and politicians. “There’s no other location like it left in the city that has that much acreage, that’s that close to the Manhattan central business district and that has a number of train lines connected to it,” said RPA Chief Planner Chris Jones in an interview with Politico New York.
Development atop Sunnyside Yards is worth exploring despite the major hurdles, Jones told Politico, including significant cost, complex construction and existing congestion on nearby transit routes. “In that sense there’s nothing else that has the same potential as Sunnyside Yards. But there are few places that have as many of the challenges either, or else it would’ve been done already.”
Image: Rendering of proposed Sunnyside Yards transportation terminal and office building from RPA’s first regional plan, 1929.