Douglaston, the sleepy suburban neighborhood of northeastern Queens, is getting a little more livelier. The Wall Street Journal reports that last month, Community Board 11 approved DOT’s plans for a new station plaza on the corner of 235th Street and 41st Avenue. According to the WSJ, “Construction will begin this month to extend parts of the sidewalk, adding about 3,000 square feet of public space. The plaza will be equipped with umbrellas, tables and chairs and decorated with plants.” The DOT hopes to serve both commuter traffic and the surrounding community; the plaza is located just across the street from PS 98 and a newly opened wine bar.
Residents hope the plaza will also bring new commercial options for the neighborhood, which has many vacant storefronts and high turnover rates. There’s also talk to turn the Douglaston LIRR station building, unused since 2009, into a coffee kiosk, or to paint a mural inside the underground passageway connecting the north and south sides of the station.
Summer is about to be in full swing… and it’s time for youngsters to work on their swings — and jumps, sprints and putts. On July 1st, the City Parks Foundation kicks off its free 2014 Summer Sports Program in 12 green spaces in Queens. CityParks Tennisprovides free tennis lessons to children, ages six to 16, and concludes with tournaments at the Central Park Tennis Center and Flushing Meadows Tennis Center in mid-August. CityParks Golfprovides free lessons and equipment to boys and girls, ages six to 16. CityParks Track & Fieldgives kids, ages five to 16, the chance to learn the basics of the sport, from hurdles and relay races, to long jump, shot put and javelin throw. Participants then have the opportunity to compete in an organized meet at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. The Queens schedule follows.
With about 130,000 residents, Queens is home to more war veterans than any other borough in New York City. This weekend various neighborhoods honor their war heroes with Memorial Day parades, including biggest one in the country (Little Neck/Douglaston).
The Maspeth Memorial Day Parade (Sunday, May 25th, at 1 pm) is always an emotional display of patriotism and gratitude. This year, it honors local veterans and women. Retired Capt. Laura Zimmermann is the speaker, and other honorees are Leo J. Wasil, who flew 35 combat missions as a radio operator, mechanic and gunner in World War II; Anthony Simone, who fought in the treacherous Mung Dung Valley during the Korean War; and Jane Crowley, who joined the United States Marine Corp Women’s Service in 1943. The parade begins at 1 pm at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park, 72nd Street and Grand Avenue, and proceeds down Grand to the Frank Kowalinski American Legion Post 4 and Knights of Columbus on 69th Lane, where there’s a memorial service at 2 pm.
Forest Hills, Sunday, May 25th, noon, starts at Ascan and Metropolitan avenues, proceeds to Trotting Course Lane, ending at St. John Cemetery. Grand marshals are Monsignor John McGuirl, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Church; Community Board 6 Chair Joseph Hennessey; and Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Terrance Holliday.
College Point, Sunday, May 25th, 2 pm, starts at 28rd Avenue and College Point Boulevard and heads to 5th Avenue and 119th Street. State Senator Tony Avella is the grand marshal. Poppy Queen is Isabella Joan Hollaway.
Howard Beach, Monday, May 26th, 9:30 am, begins with Memorial Day Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church at 101st Street and 159th Avenue. The parade kicks off at 11 am in Coleman Square and takes its time-honored route through Old Howard Beach, visiting the Vietnam War memorial at 99th Street and 157th Avenue, the World War II memorial at Assembly of God Church at 158-31 99th Street and then St. Barnabas Church at 159-19 98 Street.
Laurelton, Monday, May 26th, 9 am, Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards to the Veterans Memorial Triangle, 225thStreet and North Conduit Avenue.
Little Neck-Douglaston, Monday, May 26th, 2 pm, Northern Boulevard between Jayson Avenue and 245th Street, 2 pm.The closing ceremony is held in the parking lot of Saint Anastasia School, Northern Boulevard and Alameda Avenue, where awards are given, honorees are acknowledged, and refreshments are served. World War II heroes are the grand marshals, including Rocco Moretto and John McHugh Sr., who stormed the beaches of Normandy during D-Day; Thomas Dent; John W. Peterkin; and Lucy Salpeper, who joined the Navy Waves and cared for injured soldiers.
Ridgewood-Glendale, Monday, May 26th, 11 am, starting at the Ridgewood Memorial Triangle at Myrtle and Cypress avenues and ending at the Glendale War Monument at Myrtle and Cooper avenues. Charles Dunn, a member of Glendale’s VFW Sergeant Edward R. Miller Post 7336, is the grand marshal.
This Tudor home at 318 Kenmore Road, in Douglaston, is stunning. Just look at that exterior! The insides are just as impressive, with lots of drool-worthy woodwork, cathedral ceilings, and a beautifully-renovated kitchen. On top of all that, this property is one of the largest in the Douglaston Manor Historic District. The massive home (no square footage listed) also comes with a guest cottage and a third lot with “a finished building perfect for pool house.” Big property, big price tag: 318 Kenmore Road is asking $4,999,000.
This sprawling waterfront mansion was also an Open House Pick last Friday. It’s located at 310 Shore Road, on the edge of Douglaston. The home and the grounds look incredibly impressive — who wouldn’t want that view from their backyard? But the interior is outdated and needs work. (No pictures of the kitchen lead us to believe that will need work, too.) The house has some decent bones to work with, like the ceiling panels in the dining room. All of it is asking a $3,988,000 — no small sum indeed.
I did a double take when I saw this house. It looks so much like the houses I grew up around; old Greek Revival and Italianate farmhouses in upstate Otsego County. But this house is in the middle of upscale, suburban Queens. A quick look around the neighborhood shows all kinds of 20th century residential architecture, from one end of the century to the other, but nothing is as old as this late 1840s farmhouse, sitting by itself of a generous lot.
The house’s address is 236-12 Center Drive, in Douglaston, an area with a long history. When the Matinecoc Indians lived in this area, it was called Madnan Neck, and was a favorite area for fishing and harvesting oysters and clams. They were used for food, and the shells were used to make wampum, for trading. When the Dutch and English settlers showed up, in the late 17th century, a settler named Thomas Hicks and his men evicted the Matinecoc in a battle, even though the Dutch authorities had not approved of such actions. It was the only such seizure of property in the annals of Flushing, which oversaw this part of Long Island.
The early residents of the area were both Dutch and English. They named the area Thorne’s Neck, then Wilken’s Neck, and finally settled on Little Neck, the name that stuck until the second half of the 19th century, when the name moved to an adjacent town. Subsequent settlers utilized the clam and oyster beds so prized by the Matinecoc, and harvested their bounty until the beds became too polluted to use in the early 20th century. Until industrialization and sewage ruined everything, Little Neck clams and oysters were famous for their superior qualities.
Much of the peninsula’s land belonged to the Weakes family, the Van Wycks, then Wynant Van Zandt, who sold it to the Douglas family. George Douglas, a Scotsman, established Douglas Manor in the 1830s. A bit further south, away from the shore, the town of Marathon grew up, with parcels of land belonging to several prominent families, including the Allen family. The Allen farm was massed from smaller purchases by the Allen’s before 1820. The land passed to several generations of Allen’s before ending up with Benjamin P. Allen. In 1847, Benjamin acquired the last piece of the family farmstead, where the house now stands, and began building his home. (more…)