by Karman Chao, Trent Emanuel and Alice Wong, 08/09/2012
Photo: Alexander Thompson
In keeping with its cheerful-sounding name, the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens has never hesitated to roll out the welcome mat to new residents and visitors alike. Established in the earlier part of the last century as an affordable, middle-class enclave buttressing Queens Boulevard—a thoroughfare created to connect the newly built Queensboro Bridge to central Queens and parts east—Sunnyside was first home to a sizable Irish immigrant population who were drawn to the verdant courtyards and tree-canopied residential streets of Sunnyside Gardens, one of the country's first planned communities (and now designated a landmark and a national historic district). Today, Sunnyside retains its humble, unpretentious spirit and original Irish brogue among a richly diverse blend of accents from a more recent influx of immigrants from around the world—particularly from Romania, Greece, Turkey, Korea and South American countries—making the neighborhood a terrific destination for those looking for a flavorful, affordable international adventure just a few subway stops from Midtown Manhattan. After browsing through family-owned shops specializing in coffee, meats, handmade jewelry and vintage clothing, strolling through quiet, shady historic streets and enjoying a pint in spirited pubs, you'll soon realize why you'll want to, um, stay on the Sunnyside.