The Sunnyside Garden Apartments were developed by Phipps Houses, founded by Henry Phipps, a business partner of Andrew Carnegie. Upon his retirement in 1901, Phipps—like Carnegie—devoted the rest of his life to philanthropic endeavors, including a $1 million gift used to fund the development of affordable housing in New York City.
The residences were completed in two stages. The first—22 connected 4- and 6-story buildings—was completed in 1931. The final 13 four- story buildings were completed in 1935. Designed by famous architect and planner Clarence Stein and landscape architect Marjorie Sewell Cautley, all of the buildings are notable for their striking interior gardens, art deco features and impressive brick facades.