Earlier this summer, the new owners of the Steinway Mansion filed a demolition permit for a one-story frame house located on the expansive property. Here’s what that frame house actually looks like. Friends of the Steinway Mansion posted the photo, which was taken back in 2011, on Facebook. The home was constructed in 1910, is 16 feet tall, and is a total of 522 square feet.
The new owners, who paid $2,600,000 for the historic site, promised to preserve the actual mansion although it’s landmarked anyway. What this demolition may mean is that they break up the one-acre property and start selling parcels for development. However, there’s no confirmation on those plans.
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.
Some will sit on folding chairs. Others will lie on blankets. Still more will stand or maybe even sit on the curb. But all will certainly enjoy FLIC NIC in the Street in Jackson Heights this Saturday — and again next Saturday. The Queens World Film Festival and the Jackson Heights Green Alliance will offer two evenings of action, family, feature, international, local and short movies at the 78th Street Play Street, which is permanently closed to vehicular traffic.
Descriptions of the scheduled flicks are on the jump page.
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…)
It’s hard to keep track of all the controversial plans to open homeless shelters in Queens, and today the New York Daily News reports on another proposal upsetting the community in the Rockaways. The Department of Homeless Services is planning to begin housing 155 homeless families at 316 Beach 65th Street, the former Daytop Village drug rehab center. It’ll be operated by Housing Bridge, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit. This will be the first homeless shelter for the Rockaway peninsula.
As it goes in these stories, surrounding residents and local pols expressed anger with the plan. “Without any talk of essential services being added to Rockaway, this is not a good proposal,” stated City Councilman Donovan Richards. The community says it wasn’t alerted that the DHS wanted to convert this site, with the DHS telling Councilman Richards it had “no plans to build anything there” earlier this summer. The DHS, on the other hand, stated that “the suggestion that we promised not to use a facility that is perfectly suitable for homeless families when we are facing a record demand for adequate shelter is false and regrettable.” The organization says it is facing pressure to house a growing population of homeless New Yorkers.
The New York rental and sales website Address Report (formerly Rentenna) just published some pretty awesome, interactive maps of Queens. This first map visualizes every single demolition in Queens since 2003. You can also zoom in to look at a particular locale, or type in an address to search for a specific property. The second map tracks both demolitions and new development in the borough since 2003. There is a lot of consistent construction action around Corona and Citi Field, while Western Queens development doesn’t pick up until around 2007.
Today, the unions and the MTA reached an agreement over the Long Island Railroad and averted a looming strike, meaning that Queens will not face LIRR-related transportation headaches next week. Governor Andrew Cuomo relayed the news in a press conference, reported by DNAinfo: “It’s my pleasure to announce today that we have settled a four-year dispute dealing with these Long Island Rail Road labor unions and an agreement with the LIRR and the MTA,” he stated.
The exact details of the deal reached are not clear, but the six-and-a-half year contract does include a 17 percent wage increase and first time healthcare contributions. LIRR fares will not be raised. If a strike occurred, 300,000 daily commuters would have been left stranded starting Sunday. The MTA’s contingency plan included limited transportation via bus, ferries and park-and-ride lots to various points in Queens.
Last week, a Q’Stoner tipster spotted dumpsters out at 5Pointz — a sign of demolition to come. Today, LIC Post reports that the iconic graffiti warehouse will be gone by October. Owner/developer Jerry Wolkoff stated that demolition will begin in earnest in about two weeks and will continue for about two to three months. He told LIC Post, “Once demolition starts we will continue all the way through to 2016… until the job is complete.” The warehouse will be replaced by two 47- and 41-story towers, with a total of 1,000 apartment units.
Demolition comes nine months after the Wolkoffs secured City Council approval for the new buildings, and eight months after whitewashing the warehouse. The demo job was supposed to take place in early 2014, but Wolkoff said it took longer than expected to secure permits. He predicts the shiny development to replace 5Pointz will be the “coolest [residential] building in New York.”