Citykin Guide To Sunnyside,Queens
If Citykin had a mascot, it would be Megan Harper. You’ve ain’t seen city parenting until you follow Megan’s adventures. She has three of the most gorgeous kids -in a way where you’re like HUH, shouldn’t statistically ONE be kind of less genetically cute…but apparently NOPE. And Megan takes those kids all over the city. No transport is too daunting, no place too out-of-the-way, no event too big or crazy. She navigates the city life with ease, hilarity and a down-to-earth attitude that will make you want to have what she’s having. She’s also heads up kid and baby partnerships at Jetblack so she also knows what you need before you even do!!!
We were so excited when she reached out and offered to do a guide on Queens (and Long Island City but we’re doing that as a separate guide). She is in-the-know on anything city parenting related and she is sharing with our community her top spots.
Without further adieu, let’s give it up for Megan.
Hello, CityKin! My name is Megan Harper and my family of 5 lives in Sunnyside, Queens. My husband runs his own controller firm specializing in restaurants and I work for a start-up called Jetblack. I also run a fun little IG account called girlgonechildinnyc as well as write for Parents, Hey Mama and Gugu Guru. A lot of people have called me an Urban Mom Guru, whatever that is. We love raising our crew here and everything this city has to offer. So, let me give you a rundown of our neighborhood.
WHY WE LOVE IT HERE:
Sunnyside has been referred to as the ‘Mayberry’ of NYC. It’s a historical neighborhood with tree lined streets, row houses, a much-debated private park but overall a very neighborhood feel. Known for its diversity our sweet little hood is finally getting its spot in the limelight… a new NBC show set here is aptly named, Sunnyside. With this diversity comes unbelievable restaurants. Yes yes I know everyone says that about their NYC hood but Queens is really unparalleled when it comes to food. My family moved to this quaint little Queens neighborhood in 2015 (a couple of kids ago!) and I’m not sure we’ll every leave.
Where to Eat
Mexican - Cemitas El Tigre – Cemitas created a buzz at Smorgasburg years ago and finally landed its first restaurant in Sunnyside. Do not leave without trying the Southern Fried Chicken Cemita (I’m Southern so LISTEN TO ME!), Baja Crispy Fish Burrito, Crinkle Cut Fries with Dill Ranch and do NOT miss the Dark Chocolate Shake. So yeah, basically the whole menu. ****Megan’s Bojangles Instagram Post is literary gold. And yeah, she Southern.
Sushi – Takesushi – Authentic as it comes Japanese sushi. The chef flies to Japan and brings back fish weekly. Guys, he FLIES every single week to get the fish. Do not leave without the Sushi Platter for two or the Billy Roll.
Neighborhood Favorite – The Alcove – Gastropub with amazing service. Don’t leave without the Cubano and the Truffle Fries. You may never eat another fry again after this place.
Family Favorite – I Love Paraguay – If you’ve never had Paraguayan food you must try it. This mom and pop staple has some amazing dishes that my whole family loves. Do not leave without trying the Sopa Paraguay which is basically cheesy cornbread (I am an authority on cornbread BECAUSE SOUTHERN) and the Parrillada Para Dos which is basically a meat sampler.
Our Local – The Lowery Bar & Kitchen – We love having a beer (sometimes with an s) and sitting outside while the kids demolish their flat breads and burgers.
Best Brunch – The Skillman – Don’t get me wrong with their new chef in play Matt Hardner, I love it here for any meal, but I especially love the brunch. Do not leave without a Sunnyside Sandwich or the Chorizo Hash with a Chipotle Bloody Mary.
Date Night - Sotto le Stelle – I probably can’t say the name correctly but this place has created some hype in the neighborhood with amazing house made pizzas.
Coffee – Brookside Market – This adorable coffee shop with a backyard is frequented by our family at least five times a week. The coffee is amazing, and the pastries are from Balthazar which is where we used to go when we weren’t rolling three deep in Tiny Humans. They also have perfect breakfast dishes and an outside area in the back that is perfect for a family hangout on Saturday mornings. Don’t leave without trying The Butcher sandwich.
Things to Do
Sunnyside Plays – This kid’s space was much needed by the community and brings so much fun to the table. Known by neighborhood parents for their Friday Happy Hour from 4 – 8:30pm it’s the perfect place to unwind after a long week and let your kids run wild by enjoying some of their amazing beer selection. Did I mention they have a parents Happy Hour Every. Friday?!
Sunnyside Garden’s Park – New York City is home to only two private parks: Gramercy Park and Sunnyside Garden’s Park. Sunnyside Garden’s Park is only accessible if you live inside the debated “Zone”. The zone is a hot topic in Sunnyside as its restrictions have only tightened in the last few years and lots of families who are members live far out of the zone, yet newcomers slightly outside of the zone can’t join. Are you confused? It’s OK. So why does everyone want inside this park? With a sand area for little kids, a bigger area called the ‘Lowers’ for big kids, a giant ball field, tennis courts and grills to rent, who wouldn’t want to come here on a Friday night, grill some hot dogs and let the kids run wild?! Don’t worry though if you’re not in the zone there are other ways to explore the park. They have a handful of annual events that are open to the public like Octoberfest and the Memorial Day Fair.
Stray Vintage – A vintage gem not to be missed. This awesome little shop is ran by a local Sunnyside family and has finds from amazing antique house goods, hip novelty gifts and an amazing record selection. It’s the best!
The Sunnyside Farmer’s Market – On Saturday the local park is booming with one of the best farmer’s markets in the city. On its face it looks like your typical farmer’s market finds from fresh flowers, to veggies to milk but what makes it so great is the whole neighborhood comes out for it. New York can feel quite small actually at times.
Bliss Vintage – My absolute favorite shop in the neighborhood is Bliss. Violet has vintage clothing finds from kids and adults to locally made candles. My 3-year-old daughter loves going shopping here.
Dance Matters – The neighborhood dance studio for kids is now offering Booty Shaking classes on Wednesdays for moms (or dad) to go and shake their thing. UMMM….hell-to-the-yes.
Crossfit Sunnyside Kids – Looking for an activity that is also a surefire way to tire your kids out? Coach Chris at Crossfit Sunnyside can do just that. Classes start as young as 4-year olds.