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Imagine a Huge Convention Center on Top of Sunnyside Yards

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Sunnyside Yards, the 160-acre rail yard that cuts through Sunnyside, Queens, has been targeted as a potential site for a huge affordable housing complex situated on huge platform over its exposed train tracks. But this weekend in the New York Times, former deputy mayor and current Culture Shed chairman Dan Doctoroff put forth another, not-so-modest proposal, which is as follows: 1) Sell the Javits Center for around $4 billion and rezone it for residential development, 2) Build a new 3.1 million-square-foot convention center over Sunnyside Yards (Javits is 1.8 million square feet), 3) Also build some housing (50 percent affordable), hotels, offices, retail, etc. around the new convention center. The Javits Center, Doctoroff writes, is "too small for many events and can't compete with facilities in other cities," and Manhattan is too expensive for many convention travelers. Meanwhile, Sunnyside Yards "carves a nasty scar through the heart of Queens" but is also adjacent to Long Island City, "one of the most convenient, transit-friendly areas in the city." The only obstacle, he contends, is money, and the sale of the Javits Center could go a long way in that regard.

The Daily News decided to ask some Sunnysiders what they think of all this, which is, as it turns out, not much. "I'm offended every time someone says there's a scar running through the neighborhoods that I represent," said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who added, "I have never had a constituent tell me that what we need is a convention center built smack dab in that neighborhood." Community Board 2 chairman Joseph Conley commented, "I don't see how a convention center would work there." Hey, it could be worse, Sunnyside—at least Dan Doctoroff isn't trying to bring you the Olympics.
· New York's Next Big Thing [NYT]
· Queens locals aren't thrilled with long-shot plan to put convention center and housing at Sunnyside Yards [NYDN]
· Residents Want Affordable Megaproject Atop Sunnyside Yards [Curbed]