City announces Sunnyside Yards planning team, hears hell from JVB, Nolan


The city is officially moving forward on developing a neighborhood over the Sunnyside Yards by launching a master planning process this summer. The Economic Development Corporation announced today that Alicia Glen, deputy mayor of economic development and Anthony Coscia, chairman of Amtrak, which owns most of the space, signed a letter of intent to collaborate on the plan. The EDC’s announcement confirms Crain’s New York Business’ March 29 report that urbanist Vishaan Chakrabarti will be heading the master plan team. But more people are involved! Cali Williams, an EDC vice president for the last decade, now has the title: director of Sunnyside Yard. And a steering committee headed by Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership and Sharon Greenberger, head of the YMCA for Greater New York (what?) will be consulting on the plan. But wait… what about elected officials who don’t want this to happen? 

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district spans both the LIC and Sunnyside sides of the yards, has been vocal against this project. How the EDC and mayor’s office will be able to push this ahead without the support from the 26th city council rep, I’m really not sure. The yards would have to be rezoned to allow residential development and super tall buildings, something the council member would have to approve. Sunnyside Post reported shortly after the EDC’s announcement today that JVB and State Rep. Catherine Nolan, who also opposes the plan, complained the city went around them on this. Well of course. 

JVB told Sunnyside Post

“It certainly would have been wise to give folks a serious heads up that this was happening. I think catching people by surprise is the last thing you wanna do on something this controversial.”

And Nolan said: 

“I have worked closely with the Mayor on many issues and it is shocking to see community voices denied in this process at the very beginning.”

The EDC says it did invite them to be part of the steering committee. But uh. 

The planning process is anticipated to take 18 months and will involve community outreach meetings. Should be fun! Here’s a list of the rest of the committee: 

  • Alicia Glen – Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development
  • Tony Coscia – Chairman of the Board, Amtrak
  • Angela Pinsky – Executive Director, Association for Better New York
  • April Simpson – President, Queensbridge NYCHA Tenants Association
  • Bob LaCroix – Retired, Amtrak
  • Carlo Scissura – President and CEO, Building Congress
  • Dean Devita- Secretary-Treasurer, National Conference of Firemen & Oilers
  • Deborah Alexander – Co-President, Community Education Council 30
  • Denise Keehan-Smith – Chair, Community Board 2
  • Elizabeth Erion and Gerry Caliendo – Land Use Committee Chair, Community Board 1
  • Felix Ciampa – Executive Director, Urban Land Institute New York
  • Gail Mellow – President, LaGuardia Community College
  • Gary LaBarbera – President, Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Holly Leicht –  EVP, Real Estate and Planning, Empire State Development
  • Janno N. Lieber – Chief Development Officer, MTA
  • Jonathan Bowles – Executive Director, Center for an Urban Future
  • Judy Zangwill – Executive Director, Sunnyside Community Services
  • Lisa Deller – Land Use Committee Chair, Community Board 2
  • Lynne Sagalyn – Professor, Columbia University
  • Melissa Orlando – Executive Director and Founder, Access Queens
  • Mitchell Moss – Director of Rudin Center, NYU
  • Pedro Gomez – President, Court Square Civic
  • Sheila Lewandowski – Member, LIC Cultural Alliance
  • Sylvia White – Co-Chair, Justice for All Coalition
  • Thomas J. Grech – President & Chief Executive Officer, Queens Chamber of Commerce
  • Tom Wright – President, Regional Plan Association

More coverage: 

Crain’s New York: Sunnyside Yard planning process to launch this summer

Curbed NY: Sunnyside Yard megaproject is no longer just a pipe dream 

LIC Post: City Takes Another Step Towards Making Sunnyside Yards Development A Reality…

Sunnyside Post: Van Bramer, Nolan Denounce City’s Latest Sunnyside Yard Announcement… 



One thought on “City announces Sunnyside Yards planning team, hears hell from JVB, Nolan”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: