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Sunnyside Gardens, A Place That Matters

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There are two private residential parks in New York City. One is Gramercy Park, in Manhattan; can you guess where the other is?

Pat yourself on the back if you said that it’s in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens, the first garden community in the United States, dating from the mid-1920s. Garden communities were intended to introduce a new way of living in cities, one that focused on shared green space. A rare development that did not discriminate against Jews or Catholics and aimed at a mix of classes, Sunnyside Gardens itself was a project of the City Housing Corporation, a private company with philanthropic, though profit-making, goals.

While the park may be private, you’re free to wander Sunnyside Gardens, with its low-rise housing and copious open space. Although some residents fenced off their yards beginning in the 1960s, many buildings and several communal courtyards remain much as they were intended in the ’20s. It’s an oasis of green just 15 minutes from Times Square.