Christopher Santora was 23 years old on September 11, 2001. The firefighter was not on duty when the hijacked airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers. In fact, he had just returned to his Long Island City home after finishing a shift. But when he heard about the attack, he raced back to Engine 54 in Manhattan’s Theater District, before heading downtown with his colleagues.
Santora, who had two parents and four sisters, died soon thereafter, probably when the towers collapsed. His remains were buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery in East Elmhurst about three months later. His family then established the Christopher Santora Follow Your Dream Memorial Scholarship, which defrays tuition costs and provides educational materials to certain selected beneficiaries.
This Saturday, St. Michael’s hosts the Remember Me Run, which honors all the first responders who died on 9/11 and raises funds for the Santora Scholarship and Community Mayors, an all-volunteer nonprofit that provides recreational therapy to more than 50,000 special needs children a year.
With a 2 pm start, the two-mile, friendly race follows a winding route through the burial grounds. Afterward, there is a memorial service when a few new names are added to the cemetery’s World Trade Center monument. More info and a photo of the WTC monument are on the jump page.
Council Member Costa Constantinides released the Participatory Budget ballot for District 22, which covers parts of Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Community members in the 22nd District will be able to choose from eighteen project proposals to decide how to spend $1 million throughout the neighborhood. You can see a sample of the ballot right here [PDF]. Proposals include a new dog run under the RFK Bridge, renovations at the Astoria Houses, a redesign for 21st Street, a playground in Hallets Point, schoolyard upgrades at I.S. 126, a pedestrian plaza along Newtown Avenue and more.
Voting will take place from April 13th through the 19th. Ballot proposals that get the most votes and are within the $1 million limit will emerge as the winning, funded projects.
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?
Where to begin with this home at 30-23 86th Street, in East Elmhurst? Well, it’s on the market for $650,000. It’s a single family with three bedrooms, one-and-a-half bathrooms and a finished basement. The living and dining rooms have been completely renovated with ceramic tiles and recessed lighting — it’s all giving off a bachelor pad vibe to us. The rest of the home appears to be pretty straightforward, with hardwood floors and decently-sized rooms. And while it looks like the property comes with a garage, the backyard is completely paved over. What do the readers make of this one?
The Prince family opened the first commercial plant nursery in the USA in 1735, specializing in fruit trees. Patriarch Robert Prince learned horticulture from the remaining Huguenots (French Protestants) in the Flushing area, and the business flourished during and after the Revolutionary period. In the early 1800s, Robert’s son William opened the first bridge over the Flushing River that allowed wagon and cart traffic to enter from western Queens. Competing plant nurseries of the Bloodgood and Parsons families also opened, and in the 1800s, Flushing was known around the Northeast for horticulture. Eventually, though, as Flushing gradually became more urban, the nurseries moved out or failed. Today, the only reminder of the plant shops is Flushing’ street plan, which bears plant names from A (Ash) to R (Rose), and Prince Street.
The Prince family home was constructed at Broadway and Lawrence Street (today Northern and College Point Boulevards) by the Embree family around 1750, and purchased by the Princes in 1800. It was torn down in the 1930s as the area became industrial.
A NYS historic marker here, now long gone, said:
Prince Homestead stands opposite. Built by E. Embree 1780. Washington stopped here to see the Prince Nurseries during his trip to Long Island 1789.
When Washington visited the Prince nursery he was unimpressed, but when Thomas Jefferson visited the following year he made several purchases that were planted at Monticello in Virginia.
It’s the most diverse county in the world and the best tourism destination in the United States, so it’s no surprise that Queens is overflowing with wonderful Valentine’s Day activities and bargains. In fact, local chances for romance and fun related to this international holiday are so numerous that they run for more than two weeks and include everything from live music to a “love run,” hotel getaways, and even a blood drive for the do-gooders. Another photo and many more details are on the jump page.
My friend, preservationist Frampton Tolbert, has a new website, called Queens Modern. If you love mid-20th century Queens architecture, you will be a happy camper. You can wander around dozens of mid-century buildings here, finding all kinds of goodies. Frampton is a meticulous researcher, and the site contains building profiles, architect profiles, maps and a searchable database. The buildings that he has chosen were highlighted for mention and praise by the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Between 1948 and 1970, the Queens Chamber of Commerce Building Awards were bestowed on almost 400 buildings of all types throughout the borough. The site will eventually have all of them, and more on file, but is launching with almost 150 entries.
The mission of the site is to highlight and document the wealth of modern architecture that was built in Queens in the post-World War II era. American architecture was influenced by many things during this period, including modern “space age” shapes, building technologies and materials. As time has passed, many of these buildings are in danger of being destroyed or altered. The site seeks to showcase the best of them, and document as much as possible, an era that is now officially considered “old.”
Today, many of the architects, designers and their creations are experiencing a comeback in popularity, especially in furniture and the decorative arts. As I look through the site and in my own research for columns for Brownstoner Queens, I am often quite amazed at how truly modern some of the buildings are, even today. Interestingly, they appear at the furthest end of the time spectrum we are dealing with. Many of these buildings have stood the test of time much better than newer examples. (more…)
Next Thursday, Janurary 15th, the Department of Homeless Services is holding a public hearing in regards to making the Westway Motor Inn a permanent homeless shelter for 121 families. Over the summer, the DHS received a six-month contract to use the hotel as a shelter, angering pols and residents who were not previously notified or consulted about the decision. Now, Astoria Post reports, the city needs to “approve the Westway ‘contract’ before it becomes a permanent facility,” meaning that a public hearing is in order.
The shelter is located at 71-11 Astoria Boulevard, on the border of Astoria and East Elmhurst. The public hearing will actually be held in Manhattan, at 125 Worth Street at 10 am. (Following the hearing, the Comptroller will review the contract and make a final decision.) A public hearing back in July raised concerns over community safety, school overcrowding, increase in property taxes and crime.