The Sunnyside Yard Master Plan Is a Mirage of a Better City

In the city’s new master plan for Sunnyside Yard, the subway will ply new routes; classes, age groups, and races will mix; and a green and pleasant hilltop village will materialize above acres of sunken tracks.

To reinforce the sense that the report describes the best of all possible Yards, it includes a few references to past, unrealized ambitions. In 1931, the Regional Plan Association agitated for a massive rail terminal over the yards, topped by Queens’s answer to the Empire State Building. A 1971 LeFrak Plan envisioned a modernist multilayer cake, with highways above the tracks and a matrix of office buildings and middle-class apartment slabs on top of that. The current version does away with Art Deco skyscrapers and mid-century superblocks, but it revives old ambitions.

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