Over the last dozen years of Louis Armstrong’s life, the jazz legend liked to joke that Jack Bradley was his “white son.” The famous composer/singer/trumpeter didn’t have any biological children, and he was black. But he and Bradley, a professional photographer and avid sailor, became extremely close after meeting through a mutual friend in 1959. As such, Bradley had almost unlimited access to Satchmo, and he took countless photos of the star while collecting more than 2,500 sound recordings, fan mail, set lists, diet charts, handwritten notes, laundry receipts, rare books, and figurines. Bradley is still alive today, but the Louis Armstrong House Museum acquired his collection in 2005. It took years to relocate all the treasures and then arrange, preserve, and catalog them, but the Corona museum unveiled the collection last week. Visitors can check out rare recordings from the 1920s; a Giardinelli trumpet mouthpiece; unique photos of Pops on the road; and photos of Armstrong at home shortly before his death on July 6th, 1971.
Details: The Jack Bradley Collection, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, open Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturday/Sunday, noon to 5 pm, $10/$7 for seniors, students, and children.
Today local pols, the Department of Transportation, Sunnyside Shines and Community Board Two cut the ribbon on Sunnyside’s second public plaza to open this year. Lowery Plaza, located at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard under the elevated 7, now features plantings, tables and chairs. In the future, Sunnyside Shines will host neighborhood performances and programming here.
Not far away, Bliss Plaza opened this summer at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. It’s a similar design with new, leveled concrete, tables and chairs, granite blocks and planters.
The old Jamaica Savings Bank, at 161-02 Jamaica Avenue, is slated (finally!) for a makeover. Queens Courier reports that United American Land, the owner of the 116-year-old landmark, filed a permit with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to “construct rear and side additions, replace doors, install awnings and infill window openings.” There’s no official word on what’s coming for the building, but a retail tenant is possible. United American Land owns the building next door at 160-08 Jamaica Avenue, where the plan is to build it out for a big-box retailer. The company purchased that structure for $14,000,000 in 2012 and snatched up the bank building for $3,700,000.
The architecture firm Hough and Duell constructed the beautiful Beaux Arts bank and it opened to great fanfare in 1898. The bank moved out in 1964 and the building fell into disrepair. Luckily the city designated it a landmark in 1998, calling it one of the best Beaux-Arts buildings in the entire city. Read about the full history and architectural details here.
National Chemistry Week runs from October 19th to October 25th this year, and organizations across the country are promoting this discipline’s finer points. The 2014 theme is The Sweet Side of Chemistry – Candy, and scientists are tasked with explaining how ingredients undergo chemical transformations to become such beloved comestibles as chocolate, taffy, and gum. On October 26th, the New York Hall of Science will team up with the American Chemistry Society’s New York division to offer five hours of fun in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Hundreds of volunteers, including enthusiasts from prestigious universities and companies, will facilitate demonstrations with hundreds of youngsters. Plus, children (K-12) will be able to participate in a national illustrated poem contest. In keeping with the theme, participants are encouraged to explore topics such as the physical properties of candy, the difference between sugar and alternative sweeteners, and the process of candy making.
Details: National Chemistry Day, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona/Flushing Meadows Corona Park, October 26th, 11 am to 4 pm, free with admission.
If you ride the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington line as I have every day for the past couple of decades, no doubt you have noticed the four-story brick factory on the south side of the tracks the train roars past on 94th Street, about midway between the Woodside and Shea Stadium (now Mets Willets Point) stations. Well, I did, anyway, because I had noted the long-unused train siding, one of the last remaining vestiges of a time when the LIRR was used to move freight. I’m happy to report that the old factory has, instead of being razed for more “Fedders specials,” has been reinvented for the 21st Century as a building housing three high schools.
Development over Sunnyside Yards may not just be something people vaguely talk about every few years. Capital New York reports that Amtrak is considering development, and may seek out investors by next spring for building opportunities. Amtrak executives have also discussed the possibility with Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo, with a spokesman for the mayor saying the site could potentially accommodate de Blasio’s affordable housing initiative.
Of course, there are still a lot of “what ifs.” Amtrak is evaluating many of its properties and isn’t looking to develop right away, instead seeking out partners to work on development strategies. And it’s still unclear how, exactly, development would look over the sprawling 167 acres of rail yards — any building strategy will be extremely complex and also require collaboration with the MTA. But as Capital says, “Still, the chairman’s comments were by far the most aggressive made on the topic by an executive at the company and were read as a significant moment for those thinking about the potential the Sunnyside Yards hold.”
This month, 79 renovated studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments hit the market at the Elmhurst co-op development The Continental Park, which has 153 total units. The re-development of the building is the work of Myles Horn (behind the re-development of The Printing House in the West Village), ABC Properties and Fisher Associates. The available units feature oak flooring, white stone countertops, imported Italian cabinetry, custom bathtubs and plenty of fancy new fixtures. Many units also have large private outdoor spaces and washer/dryer hook-ups. Common spaces were renovated as well, with the addition of a children’s playground, fitness center and resident lounge.
Prices on the new units are as follows: 500-square-foot studios start from $185,000; one bedrooms ranging from 600 to 900 square feet start from $229,500; two-bedrooms ranging from 830 to 1,050 square feet start at $347,500; and finally three-bedrooms sized around 1,200 square feet begin at $509,500. Seems like there’s quite a bit of demand, too. The first weekend its sales center opened, around 1,000 people came to tour the units.
Check out some apartment renderings after the jump. GMAP
This month, Sunnyside Gardens turned 90 years old and this weekend the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance is celebrating. On Saturday, October 25th the Alliance plans to unveil three historic district signs displaying maps of the full neighborhood and then throw a birthday reception. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will kick off the event, beginning at 1 pm on Skillman Avenue and 46th Street. The first map will be unveiled there, then Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan will unveil a sign on 47th Street and Assemblywoman Margaret Markey will unveil a sign in front of Sunnyside Park. Borough President Melinda Katz and Landmarks Preservation Foundation Chair Christina Davis will also be in attendance. The stroll through Colonial Court should wrap around 2 pm with a birthday reception. All the details, plus some history on the innovative housing complex, live here.
Photo via the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance