Turns out the Woodhaven building at 78-19 Jamaica Avenue, which partially collapsed last year, will not be demolished. Queens Courier reports that the owners came to a settlement with the city to repair the roof by October 15th. The Department of Buildings declared the building hazardous and prepared to demo it after the owners failed to show up in court several times. Then the owners sued the DOB and Department of Housing Preservation and Development for “arbitrary and capricious” conduct, and finally reached this settlement.
The structure is now covered in scaffolding and generally considered a dangerous eyesore by the community. The next-door tenants, the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps and a senior center, were forced to relocate. As the owner’s lawyer told the Courier, “The engineer is working diligently to comply with the Department of Buildings. Once the building is finished, it will be very beautiful and the community will love it.”
The Deal: Looking through lists of New York City’s oldest bars, there is often a glaring omission: Neir’s Tavern. The Woodhaven pub has been in continuous operation (barring that time called Prohibition) and in the same location since 1829. That’s 25 years longer than McSorley’s, if you’re counting.
Although Neir’s may not always get the recognition it deserves, the pub has played host to a remarkable number of bold-face names. “Neir’s is known as the tavern where Mae West first performed, where actors such as W.C. Fields and businessmen like Fred Trump (Donald’s father) would gather for a drink,” says owner Loycent Gordon.
The Woodhaven mainstay has also been the backdrop to the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas and the Ben Stiller flick Tower Heist.
The Dish: Like any quality, low-key pub that prides itself on its cold beer, the signature dish at Neir’s Tavern is the burger. The Goodfella burger, named – obviously – after the film, is a half-pound burger topped with sautéed onions, grilled tomatoes, pepperjack cheese, and a chipotle-honey mayo—for just a hint of a kick.
The menu includes other dishes named in homage to the pub’s star-studded past, including the Tower Heist steak sandwich and the Mae West burger. Perhaps you could come out and see them sometime?
Tonight, Rider’s Alliance is holding a gathering for all those who ride the bus along Woodhaven Boulevard — the corridor has been a topic of discussion lately since the city is considering installing a dedicated bus route, pictured above. The event will be an “interactive meeting about how to improve pedestrian safety and bus service on Woodhaven Blvd.” Elena Conte from the Pratt Center for Community Development will be in attendance, and a light dinner will be provided. It’s at 7 pm, at the Emanuel United Church of Christ on the corner of 91st Ave and Woodhaven Boulevard. To RSVP for the event, or to check out more details, just go here.
Woodhaven and Ozone Park were settled in the 1600s by Dutch and English settlers, who gradually eased out Native Americans; Woodhaven became a racing hotbed in the 1820s when Union Course, at what is now Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard was built in 1820s. Centerville and Aqueduct Race Tracks would follow.
From the 1830s to the 1850s, what is now East New York and Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, and Woodville, Queens, were developed by Connecticut businessman John Pitkin. To avoid confusion by the Post Office with an upstate New York State town in the days before zip codes, Woodville residents voted to change Woodville’s name to Woodhaven in 1853.
Much of old Woodhaven has been blunted away from nearly two centuries of development, but some great pieces from the old days are still found here and there.
There are plenty of other buildings with ornate cupolas and towers in New York City, but this one on 95th Avenue and 93rd Street seemed all the more impressive because it was unique in Woodhaven… there’s no other building like it in the area.
The city will demolish the building at 78-19 Jamaica Avenue, in Woodhaven, which partially collapsed one year ago. (The photo above, from Project Woodhaven, shows what the building looked like right after the accident.) The Daily News reports that the head officer of 78-19 Jamaica Avenue failed to repair the building or show up in court. When he missed another court date last week, the DOB decided to go ahead with demolition. It’ll be done by a contractor hired by the HPD, then the city will bill the building owner for the work.
In the year since the collapse, the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps. had to close down its headquarters located next door, and a nearby senior center relocated as well. The community rallied outside the building last month to bring attention to the increasing safety hazards.
This home in Woodhaven, at 87-10 85th Street, really has some charm going for it. The interior boasts plenty of dark wood detailing, and we love those curved bay windows. The big downside: It’s only two stories and configured as a two-family. Both of the kitchens also look like they need some significant upgrading. There was an open house here over the weekend — did any readers check this place out? It’s asking $645,000.
The collapsed, empty building at 78-19 Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven continues to cause serious problems. The New York Daily News reports that the next door Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps. was doused by melting snow from the abandoned building, forcing the group to shut its headquarters. In the video above, you can see the amount of water damage caused so far. The building collapse — which happened way back in April — also forced a nearby senior center to move and it hasn’t been able to come back.
This January, reports surfaced that the landlord hired an architect to look into fixing the building. But according to the News, “The owner of the neglected building, 78-19 Jamaica Ave. LLC and its head officer George Kochabe have been ducking the city for months.” The city put out an arrest warrant for Kochabe for failing to show in court earlier this month. To bring attention to the increasingly dangerous structure, the community plans to rally outside the ambulance corps headquarters on March 2nd at 1 pm.
Work may soon be underway at 78-19 Jamaica Avenue, the abandoned furniture store that partially collapsed way back in April. The Forum reports that the landlord hired an architect to look into fixing the building, which has remained in its deteriorating state since the collapse. The DOB issued a number of violations here, although it’s reported that the landlord recently paid thousands of dollars in fines to the city. While the landlord wants to fix his property, area leaders believe the city should just go ahead and demolish it.
A senior center and an ambulance corps, located right next to the collapsed structure, were forced to move locations after the collapse. Local pols want to bring the two facilities back into the original building, and as the Forum notes, “The ambulance corps is working with CUNY Law School to try to get the owner to show cause as to why they building has not yet been fixed.”
The Department of Transportation is testing out different safety initiatives for Woodhaven Boulevard, a highly-trafficked thoroughfare that is the site of many accidents. Queens Courier reports that the DOT is three years into a five-year study. So far, the DOT added extended sidewalks and medians from Queens Boulevard to 62nd Road, made southbound traffic on the service road at the intersection of Union Turnpike and Woodhaven Boulevard a “must turn right” lane, and shrunk the two lanes of the service road into one. At a community meeting held this month, the DOT reported that since the improvements, crashes are actually up on Queens Boulevard to 62nd Road. Accidents at Union Turnpike and Woodhaven Boulevard decreased 29 percent.
The DOT will continue to implement safety changes — the service roads between Atlantic Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard will be changed into one lane of traffic and one parking lane. They also hope to create a northbound dedicated bus lane from the Belt Parkway to Liberty Avenue.