After its frame was built in 1890 and its hand-carved horses and menagerie animals were added in 1903, the Forest Park Carousel has had a tremendous ride. It operated at Lakeview Park in Massachusetts from 1903 until 1971, sustaining severe damage in a 1966 fire. In 1973, the merry-go-round moved to Forest Park, where it dazzled riders with its intricate designs and sweet-sounding A. Ruth & Sohn band organ until closing in 2009. It re-opened in 2012 with a new operator, New York Carousel Entertainment, and was designated a New York City landmark a year later. Now this whirligig, which features 36 jumping horses, 13 standing horses, two chariots and three menagerie animals, is fighting a debilitating and deadly disease. This Friday, the Forest Park Carousel will host a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association’s New York City Chapter. For $10, visitors get unlimited carousel rides, Cido the Clown and face-painting or they can enjoy individual rides for $3. NY Carousel will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the rides to the nonprofit health organization. The event is the brainchild of Alzheimer’s Association volunteer Carol Lacks, who lives nearby and has fond childhood memories of riding the carousel.
This Woodhaven property, at 91-43 80th Street, is pretty special indeed. It’s a sprawling six bedroom, three bathroom Victorian with a drool-worthy wrap around porch. The house itself is 3,035 square feet, and the property is a grand total of 10,000 square feet. There aren’t any interior photos so there’s no commenting on that. What’s unfortunate is that it looks like the realtor is trying to sell this as an investment property — as the listing says, “Opportunity knocks.” The lot is zoned for both commercial and residential use. We’re just hoping it doesn’t sell to be demolished. The asking price: $949,999.
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.