Queens Residents Protest Sunnyside Yards Plan

More than 60 Queens residents protested Sept. 16 at the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s final public meeting on the proposed Sunnyside Yards development. 

The $22 billion development, which would be built on a deck over the Amtrak and Long Island Railroad yards, would be eight times the size of Hudson Yards, which is also built over an active railyard. The EDC projected in 2017 that it could contain 14,000 to 24,000 new market-rate apartments at prices comparable to luxury on the Long Island City waterfront. Another 4,200 to 7,200 apartments would be permanently “affordable,” under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing standards. 

“It was important to disrupt this meeting to show that the EDC isn’t concerned about what our community actually needs,” said Sunnyside resident Hafizah Omar. She said that the Sunnyside Yards proposal, like Hudson Yards and the attempt to put an Amazon satellite headquarters in Long Island City, shows that city officials care more about luxury real-estate deals than funding public housing or housing for people in need. 

“Instead of building new luxury towers for the rich, we should be investing in the communities that already exist,” said Jenny Dubnau, an organizer with the Justice for All Coalition. “There are enough luxury towers in Long Island City.”