Locating the Project
Originally, I did not know where the stories project would lead, so I began by locating people I knew from Sunnyside Gardens. Almost immediately, I was struck by the reality that close friends often came from the other side of Skillman Avenue. How could I exclude someone I knew back then, who came to our house and was often part of our family scene, just because she did not come from Sunnyside Gardens? It didn’t seem fair, ran counter to my core values, and besides, at that moment, thankfully, I needed writers.
My research on the internet and word of mouth brought people from all parts of wider Sunnyside wanting to contribute stories. They shared a remembrance of the neighborhood, and an attachment to their memories of growing up there. That combination made it clear that the project would have to include writers from where exactly, I still did not know; postal code zone 11104 seemed a good idea.
But then Woodsiders appeared wanting to share stories, and I began to think about borders. Why should someone living on the east side of 49th Street or the south side of Greenpoint Avenue at 45th Street not be allowed into the circle? (see purple map below) So more than exactly where you came from, the bottom line is that for this project, your story must be about the neighborhood and/or the people of Sunnyside during the 1940s and 1950s.
Here are two maps:
An interactive map of Sunnyside Gardens from the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance website: http://sunnysidegardens.us/interactive-map where you can learn courtyard names. Here below, you will only be able to see the exact borders of Sunnyside Gardens, the year in which blocks of houses were built, and historical street names.
And a map of the Sunnyside Postal Code Zone 11104 which may only convince you that borders are an entirely foolish construct for the Sunnyside Stories Project!
You can use the interactive map below at www.nycma.lunaimaging.com to show tax assessment information about dwellings and businesses in Sunnyside based on the 1940 census. Perhaps of more interest, you can also see historic tax assessment photos of many Sunnyside buildings.