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Queens Chronicle

17th Annual Celebration of Queens SUNNYSIDE, AN AREA OF TALENTS

From delicious food to historic houses, this hood is a jack of all trades

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Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:01 am, Wed Jun 18, 2014.

Like much of New York City, Sunnyside is hard to define.

There are many moving parts to the neighborhood that come together and create an altogether unique place to live.

Most notably, Sunnyside is home to some of the best ethnic food in the city.

From Japanese to Spanish fusion fast food, there are endless options for foodies to sample. After all, ethnicities of Sunnyside residents include those of Colombian, Ecuadorian, Dominican, Korean, Japanese, Nepali, Tibetan, Irish, Italian, Armenian and other ancestry.

Recently, the neighborhood highlighted some eatery favorites at the Taste of Sunnyside, where dozens of businesses offered samples of their cuisine.

Though there are plenty of countries represented along the two Sunnyside dining strips — Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Boulevard — the area is most known for quality Thai food.

Establishments such as Dee Thai, located at 46-17 Queens Blvd., provide exceptional food for incredibly low prices.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, the restaurant serves wine and beer as well as all appetizers half off. So you can munch on some vegetarian dumplings and sip on a glass of Chardonnay for less than $10.

If Thai food isn’t pleasing to your palate, Los Verdes, at 46-26 Greenpoint Ave., can provide amazing Hispanic fusion food in a funky yet modern atmosphere.

Los Verdes takes fast food to a whole new level by putting a Spanish twist on hot dogs and hamburgers.

While these classic American foods taste just fine, it is the maicitoo the restaurant is most known for.

The dish is made mostly with sweet corn kernels that have been cooked with cheeses and spices. Then the corn is topped with chicken, steak, bacon or other meats.

Crushed potato chips are sprinkled on top and pink sauce — usually a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise — is drizzled on as the final touch.

And if the weather is nice enough, Sunnyside has several public spaces and plazas for visitors to eat lunch and people watch.

The newest addition to the neighborhood’s open spaces is a new plaza underneath the elevated No. 7 train.

Multicolored metal chairs and tables allow pedestrians to take a break and enjoy their surroundings or take in a public performance.

Even with such a bustling commercial area, Sunnyside is also home to thousands.

From the iconically large homes in Sunnyside Gardens to the towering apartment buildings just off Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside can be a place to hang your hat.

Many neighborhoods in western Queens are less suburban than some people would like but Sunnyside provides a mixture of greenery and the hustle and bustle of areas like Astoria or Long Island City.

Thomas Noon Park, also known as Rainbow Park, is a central hangout for kids and adults alike. The space just received funding from the Parks Department and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) for upgrades including more exercise equipment and fixing the rainbow water sprinkler for which the park is known.

Within the green Sunnyside Gardens is the area designated as the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District, which was built in 1924 by Henry Wright and Clarence Stein and includes 66 buildings and 12 other sites.

The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 but was not officially recognized by the city Landmarks Preservation Commission until June 26, 2007.

Since then, the neighborhood has flourished into an area that caters mainly to families and older couples.

Sunnyside has also produced more than great food and architecture over the years.

2013 Oscar-nominated director of the critically acclaimed “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Benh Zeitlen is from Sunnyside and lived there for much of his life until he moved to New Orleans to film the movie. His parents still live in the neighborhood.

Sunnyside was also home to Ethel Merman, Perry Como, Nancy Walker and David Horowitz, and the Queens-grown punk group The Ramones played some of their earliest gigs in Sunnyside pubs during the 1970s.

Sunnyside is also home to the Thalia Spanish Theatre, the only theater in Queens dedicated solely to live Spanish performances.

Sunnyside is a special place with lots of history and opportunities for people of all ethnicities and tastes.

Welcome to the discussion.