In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the government, through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) began building all sorts of public works projects as a means of getting the vast number of unemployed people back to work. It was the largest and most ambitious aspect of the New Deal. Over the course of the WPA’s existence, almost every city, town and village in the United States received some kind of public works project, all built by local people. They built schools, parks, bridges, roads and post offices, among other things. Post offices were a very popular project, as almost every community could use a nice new post office.
Here in New York City, dozens of individual post office branches were built over the course of the ‘30s. Many were designed in the Colonial Revival style of architecture; so many that we’ve come to think of the Colonial Revival post office as the norm. But as the decade drew to a close, some of the new post office buildings started to appear in the more modern architectural language of the day; variations on Art Deco and the new International Style.
The office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury was responsible for the designs of the nation’s post offices constructed through the WPA. The architects working for the office produced thousands of post offices, most in the conservative Colonial Revival style, which was the approved style of government buildings throughout the ‘20s and ‘30s. But as the program progressed, an amendment was written to allow the office to hire outside consulting architects for many of these buildings. Architects were unemployed people too, and hiring outside of the agency was part of the WPA’s efforts to employ the nation’s artists and creative professions, who were also struggling to make a living. (more…)
Queens Brewery, which has been brewing beer in the borough for nearly two years, plans to establish its first brick and mortar home in Ridgewood. The brewing company posted the above photo to its Facebook account with the note, “We have a #HOME !!! 1yr 7mo 2wks + 260,160 pints later. #Introducing #QueensBrewery #HalseySt #LTrain #drinklocal #themeltingbarrel.” Queens Brewery joins Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, who signed a lease on a Ridgewood warehouse late last year.
We’ve reached out to the folks at Queens Brewery for more details on their opening and how they plan to build out the warehouse, so stay tuned…
There have been reports of a new developer stepping in at 151-45 6th Road, a massive 13-acre property along the Whitestone waterfront. This site has a rather lengthy history of failed development so far. The land was zoned for manufacturing until the developers Bayrock Group bought the site for $25.75 million in 2005. The company then proceeded to rezone the area for residential use, proposing a multi-million dollar plan for 52 single-family houses (rendered above). Bayrock ran out of money, letting the property descend into foreclosure, and there were concerns of illegal dumping at the construction site. In 2012, Barone Management swooped in and paid $11.3 million to buy up the land, with plans to follow through on the previously-approved plan for single family homes. That never happened. Keeping track?
Now there’s word that this property was recently purchased by a new developer, although nothing has hit public records yet. Department of Building documents don’t offer any clues, either.
Although there are no set development plans in place, Senator Tony Avella has already released a statement regarding inappropriate development on vacant lots in Whitestone. Another property he expressed concern over is a vacant lot on 150th Street near 5th Avenue slated for foreclosure. He said of both, “I have continued to monitor these properties over the years and believe, along with the community, that building single-family homes makes the most sense. Now that both are potentially moving forward with construction, it is imperative that the developers do not stray from doing what is best for the community. Whomever decides to purchase and develop these areas must do so in a way that will not damage the character of the surrounding low-density residential neighborhood.”
Congrats to our very own Q’Stoner writer Kevin Walsh, who also runs the website Forgotten New York. Last night the Guides Association of New York City held its first ever GANYC Apple Awards Ceremony and Forgotten New York won in the category of “Outstanding NYC Website.” Forgotten New York chronicles the little-known histories of different New York neighborhoods; Kevin also wrote a book specifically concerning Queens.
The win was no small feat, as Kevin was up against Gothamist, Jeremiah’s Vanishing NY and Scouting New York. To see what all the fuss is about, check out FNY right here.
Yesterday, the New York Landmarks Conservancy posted a video and more details about the lighting test held at the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The tests are part of a $5,806,000 restoration slated to upgrade the structure’s electrical system, rebuild the staircases inside the Pavilion’s three towers, and repair the concrete platforms supporting the observation decks at the top of each of the towers.
Here is the Conservancy talking about the lighting process, which was first posted on its Facebook page. You can see the awesome video of the light tests over on Facebook as well.
On Friday, February 27, Conservancy staffers Alex Herrera and Scott Leurquin, met with Barry Grodenchik of the Queens Borough President’s office, Brian Belluomini of Shimstone Lighting Design, and Matt Torres of Lumenpulse to test various exterior lighting techniques on the majestic New York State Pavilion observation towers.
The consultants experimented with various size LED floodlights placed around the site including from the roof of the adjacent Queens Theatre. The tests showed that the LED lights can do a great job of illuminating the concrete surfaces of the towers. We hope that the eventual illumination of the structures will draw attention to them and help raise interest for a restoration and reuse. The New York State Pavilion consists of three structures: the Queens Theatre, which has been restored; the huge tent structure and the triple observation towers that await restoration. The buildings were commissioned by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and designed by Phillip Johnson for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair.
The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance has released an ambitious park proposal under the elevated A tracks called Project Underway. Project Underway would span the length of the Rockaway Peninsula, ultimately transforming the space under the subway tracks into bike paths, footpaths, green space and public areas. The underpass is mostly underutilized and although much of the road is blocked off to traffic, motorist continue use the road making illegal turns on and off the road. According to the Alliance, there have been 278 vehicle crashes with 560 people involved along this stretch since 2011.
RWA is now working with the owners behind the Arverne By the Sea development (between Beach 62nd Street to Beach 67th Street) to build out this stretch as a temporary pilot project. The proposal here includes reducing storm water run off through green infrastructure landscaping, trash receptacles and different cultural programming. Project Underway includes two more phases to ultimately develop a plan with stakeholders and landowners to connect the entire stretch of underway from Mott Avenue to Beach 116th Street. The end goal, according to RWA, is to “connect both the east and west ends of the Peninsula and provide a safer and more equitable route that people of all ages can use to get to school, work or home.”
To see an outline of the proposal, check out the PDF.
You don’t have to be a geek to participate in the Panorama Challenge this Friday…but it sure helps! The world’s only geographical trivia-based game that involves the world’s largest architectural model is now in its eighth year at the Queens Museum. The contest will consist of audio clues and laser-pointers highlighting assorted NYC landmarks, bridges, neighborhoods, parks, etc. Each location will be pinpointed by a laser-wielding tour guide from Levys’ Unique New York. Teams of 10 contestants (more or less) will then try to identify each site. More information on following page.
This property at 24-33 82nd Street is listed in Jackson Heights, but it’s more like “LaGuardia’s Next Door Neighbor” out in East Elmhurst. Location aside, this two-family ranch home is cute from the outside. We are not at all crazy about those marble floors, but the first floor looks like it’s in decent shape. There’s a basement apartment with another kitchen that is worse for wear. All together you get three bedrooms and two bathrooms over both units, as well as an attached one-car garage. We think the ask of $599,000 is really pushing it, how about you?
A lengthy gash of green known as the Kissena Corridor can be seen on Queens maps, running from Flushing Meadows-Corona Park at its western end all the way east to Cunningham Park at Francis Lewis Boulevard on the east. The Queens Botanical Garden between College Point Boulevard and Main Street forms its western end, while a narrow patch is slotted between Colden Street and 56th Avenue/56th Road, seen in the above photo on a recent February afternoon.
The gash “widens” into Kissena Park proper, which is divided into a “parklike” northern section and a more “natural” southern section, between Kissena Boulevard, Rose Avenue, Oak Avenue, Booth Memorial Avenue and 164th Street. East of that, the Kissena Corridor’s narrowest sector runs from Fresh Meadow lane to the Long Island Expressway, after several blocks’ interruption by the Kissena Golf Course between 164th and Fresh Meadow Lane.