On September 17th, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by a majority of delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. One framer, Rufus King, had traveled to the Pennsylvania event from his family farm in Jamaica, Queens. The statesman’s career was only beginning at the time, and he went on to serve four terms as a U.S. Senator and seven years as an ambassador to Great Britain while also building a reputation as an ardent opponent of slavery. On September 17th of this year, the King Manor Museum, which is located on the grounds where Rufus once lived, will host a naturalization ceremony to welcome roughly 75 new citizens to their new country. These immigrants will take their oath in the shadow of a Founding Father’s home and swear to support the U.S. Constitution on the 227th anniversary of its signing. During a ceremony conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the new Americans will listen to the National Anthem, watch a color guard present Old Glory, and then proceed into King Manor to sign their names to a replica of the U.S. Constitution and take photos next to a life-size statue of Rufus King.
Details: Citizenship Day 2014, King Manor Museum, King Park, 150-03 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, free, BY INVITATION ONLY, contact Kathy Forrestal at Education@kingmanor.org.
Photos: King Manor Museum
There’s an empty lot in Jamaica at 107th Avenue and 164th Street now being used as a basketball court by local kids. It’s severely rundown, and residents have tried to work with the city to turn it into a useable basketball court. The city’s response? There are plans to develop affordable housing on the lot in question (owned by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development), although there are no details or even a timeframe for construction. The city made no promises to upkeep the space in the meantime.
Now the land access organization 596 Acres is organizing around the lot. They released some details in a recent email newsletter: “Since this is land owned by HPD, in order for this crucial playspace to see an improvement, a local organization will need to become its steward and then get the resources to fix it up. We bet a grant from the NYC Citizens’ Committee would do it. Do you know a local organization that wants to do this?” 596 Acres started a conversation with HPD in regards to the proposal, but it’s going to need more of a push. If you’re interested in organizing around this potential public space, leave a comment for 546 Acres or contact email@example.com.
History repeats itself in Queens this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, the King Manor Museum — the former home of Rufus King, a signer of the United States Constitution, a senator from New York, and an ambassador to Great Britain – will host Craftsmen Days. With help from artisans dressed in time costumes, visitors will learn about 19th century crafts like broom-making, tin-smithing, and wood-turning, while also enjoying music featuring instruments such as a hammered dulcimer, fiddle, and banjo. On Sunday, the Vander-Ende Onderdonk House, the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City, will open Picnic Days. Visitors will be able to enjoy the beautiful architecture, gardens and picnic area, and take tours.
More information and three additional photos are on the jump page.
Market-rate development is coming for Jamaica, in a neighborhood that has seen a lot of new affordable housing development. New York YIMBY snagged the above rendering of 190-11 Hillside Avenue, off of 191st Street. It’s a 21-unit, seven-story building developed by TCX, who are based in Great Neck. The architect is De Fonseca Architects. The design is interesting indeed, with both protruding and recessed balconies and a large column of windows. We don’t hate it!
Construction already started up last December and it’s expected to finish in early 2015. Once finished, the building will boast a total of 15,000 square feet. The development will hold one and two bedrooms, with a one bedroom renting for around $1,600 a month. The developer hopes the units will appeal to St. John’s University students nearby.
Here’s what P.S./I.S. 314, the new school planned for Jamaica, is going to look like. The School Construction Authority is currently building the structure on the corner of 164th Street and Hillside Avenue and plans to open it for the September 2015 school year. Queens Courier reports that it’ll be four stories and approximately 113,092 square feet. It will hold more than 830 students from pre-K through the eighth-grade. The architect, Gruzen Samton, breaks down the layout of the L-shaped building at its website:
The school is organized into two main components. A four story Academic Wing will be constructed along the west edge of the site, encompassing instructional spaces, offices, Cafeteria and Library. A three story Public Assembly Wing will be located at the northeast corner of 164th Street and Hillside Avenue, comprising the Gymnasium and multi-use “Gymatorium”. A two story glass-enclosed Lobby/Gallery joins these two wings to provide for the school’s main entrance and connect the major internal public spaces to facilitate their use by the community after school hours.
Check out more renderings — including ones of the interior — after the jump.
Renderings Reveal Look of New P.S./I.S. 314 School in Jamaica [Queens Courier] (more…)
NY1 filed a report on the lot at 107th Avenue and 164th Street in Jamaica — it’s now used as a basketball court by neighborhood kids. It’s severely rundown and residents reached out to the city in hopes to fix it up, but hadn’t made headway. NY1 found out that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development actually owns the parcel, with plans to turn it into an affordable housing development.
There are no details on the design or a construction timeline; HPD says the project has been delayed. (The lot is about 4,000 square feet, according to PropertyShark.) Meanwhile, the agency cannot fix up the basketball court, telling NY1 that it is not within their budget.
Photo via Google Maps
As of the summer of 2014, Queens is in the unusual position of boasting two classic architectural treasures that were once home to the same now-shuttered high school. One, of course, was the classic Jamaica High School, a Georgian Revival masterpiece built in 1927 at Gothic Drive and 168th Street, noted on this recent Brownstoner Queens piece. The other is this forbidding Gothic Revival brick number on Haillside Avenue and 162nd Street.
When Jamaica High School was founded in 1892, students went to class in the now-demolished Jamaica Public High School, 161st Street just off Jamaica Avenue, which was still Fulton Street; 161st was then Herriman Avenue. That venue quickly became too crowded, and a new school in the Gothic Revival style was commissioned with prominent Brooklyn architect William Tubby (whose most prominent buildings still stand in Clinton Hill, including the Pratt University library building) at the helm of the project. (more…)
Thirty-five years ago, Vincent and Patricia Chin relocated their business, VP Records, from Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, Queens. It was a good move as VP quickly grew to become the largest reggae company in the world. This Sunday, VP will add spice to the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York with a storyboard installation featuring a detailed map exploring reggae’s impact in every continent and an illustrative timeline covering each era. This seems like the perfect addition to this fourth annual event, which is now the biggest Caribbean food festival in the world, attracting roughly 20,000 visitors last year. They come for the tremendous cuisine, live music acts, shopping, and even a cultural stage, which will host folk dances, poetry readings, storytelling and creative fashions. Meanwhile, chefs will compete to win cash, bragging rights as the “Jerk Champion” and the coveted Dutch Pot Trophy as decided by a panel of distinguished judges.
More information and five additional photos appear on the jump page.