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Sunnyside and Woodside

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Lying within Long Island City, the area is named for a roadhouse built on Jackson Ave. to accommodate visitors to the Fashion Race Course in Corona during the 1850s and 1860s. The Queensboro Bridge opened in 1909 and from it was built Queens Blvd., which ran to the center of the borough through Sunnyside. According to historian Vincent Seyfried, "Sunnyside Gardens (1924-29), a complex of attached houses of two and half stories, with front and rear gardens and a landscaped central court, was one of the nations's first planned communities."

The neighborhood became largely Irish, and at one time Sunnyside was known as "the maternity ward of Greenwich Village," as many artists and writers could inexpensively get away from the cramped quarters of Manhattan. Residents now include Koreans, Colombians, Romanians and Chinese. And since 1977, Sunnyside has been the home to the Thalia Spanish Theatre, 41-17 Greenpoint Ave., 729-3880, the only Spanish theatre in Queens, producing zarzuelas (Spanish operettas), folklore shows of music and dance such as Flamenco and Tango, along with classic and contemporary Spanish plays. A walk down Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside will provide any and all services, Irish pubs, good restaurants and a very vibrant neighborhood with the epicenter at 46th St. and Queens Blvd.

Woodside has come a long way since John Andrew Kelly built a home called "Woodside" in appreciation of the forests of the vicinity. It adjoins Long Island City in northwestern Queens and was settled in the late seventeenth century. A village was finally developed in 1867 by Benjamin W. Hitchcock, who laid out streets and sold lots, and with that, the race was on. A large number of Irish families moved into the area from cramped quarters in Manhattan. As a matter of fact, Woodside was once known as "Irishtown." By the 1980s immigrants from China, Colombia, Korea, the Dominican Republic, and to a lesser extent from India, Ecuador, the Philippines, Guyana, Peru and Ireland all became neighbors to one another. Roosevelt Ave. is the neighborhood's principle commercial thoroughfare, and it's truly a gathering place for many nations of the world. More info: Woodside On The Move, 476-8449.

More info: Community Board 2, 533-8773.

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