Tag Archives: City Landmarks Preservation Commission

Broadway-Flushing residents renew fight for landmark status

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alina Suriel

State Senator Tony Avella and residents of Broadway-Flushing are continuing the fight to have the neighborhood designated a landmark district.

A previous attempt to get the neighborhood recognized by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) only resulted in an offer to designate a few homes with landmark status,  a compromise which was not accepted by residents. The community is renewing its efforts due to a change in leadership at the LPC last year.

Although the area is listed on State and National Registers of Historic Places, residents are seeking landmark status because this would give the structures within its boundary protection against overdevelopment under New York City Landmarks Law.

“This community has, through the civic association, fought to maintain the quality of life, going to court, spending their own money, for probably two decades at this point,” Avella said. “They shouldn’t have to do that. That should be the city’s job, protecting their neighborhood.”

According to Richard Hourahan of the Queens Historical Society, the development of the Broadway-Flushing area came at a time when the local character was changing from rural to suburban with the introduction of the Long Island Rail Road. Most of the homes in the area were built in the same time period in the first two decades of the 20th century.

“It’s a historical epoch that has been identified as being a progressive era [in the] United States,” Hourahan said. “It was the beginning of suburbanization of Queens.”

Maria Becce, a member of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association, said that suburban life in a big city offers the best of both worlds and this an important aspect of the area.

“Instead of having to move to New Jersey or Long Island, or upstate New York, Westchester, here we are, 21 minutes by Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station, and I get exactly what I’m looking for — a one-family neighborhood, with a front garden, backyard, and where there are trees on the street and neighbors know each other,” Becce explained.

Sandi Viviani, a former president of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association said achieving landmark status would preserve Broadway-Flushing’s history even after the current residents are gone.

“This is one of the most important things we are trying to do is to preserve this community for generations to come,” she said.


Landmarked 116-year-old Jamaica Savings Bank building set for transformation

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/PropertyShark

A real estate firm investing in downtown Jamaica has plans to renovate and modify one of the area’s landmarked buildings.

The new owners of the 116-year-old Jamaica Savings Bank building at 161-02 Jamaica Ave. in the heart of the neighborhood’s downtown area has filed with the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission to modify the building.

The structure, a Beaux-Arts-style bank building designed by architecture firm Hough & Duell and built in 1898, was designated a landmark in 2008.

According to city records, the application seeks to “construct rear and side additions, replace doors, install awnings and infill window openings.”

The building was bought by the investment firm of the Laboz family, United American Land LLC, under the name 161-02 Jamaica LLC for $3.7 million, according to records filed with the city in January. Jason Laboz of the firm declined to speak with The Courier about the project.

The modification of the building could be part of a plan to add new retail tenants into the property as the company has planned with the adjacent buildings on the strip.

United American Land purchased the 10-story building next door at 160-16 Jamaica Ave. in January for $8.5 million. It filed permits to reduce the larger building down to four stories, matching the landmarked structure and the property at 160-08 Jamaica Ave., which the company owns as well.

The 160-08 Jamaica Ave. structure is still under construction for new retail tenants, according to plans posted on United American Land’s website.

The firm bought that building in 2012 for $14 million, according to city records, and an H&M was thought to be a potential anchor for that property, according to published reports.


Street signs unveiled in Ridgewood North Historic District

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

New street signs indicate that Ridgewood North is making history.

The area, constructed at the turn of the 20th century, consists of nearly 100 apartment buildings commonly referred to as the Mathews Flats. At the time of their construction, the buildings were seen as a step forward from the overcrowded, unsanitary conditions associated with Manhattan tenement housing.

The apartments are credited with transforming Ridgewood into a middle-class, urban neighborhood, according to Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

“The Mathews Flats are an important part of the city’s history,” she said. “This historic district designation ensures that the architecture and historical significance of these buildings will be preserved.”

The signs were unveiled on Thursday, April 18 at a ceremony with Crowley, Councilmember Diana Reyna, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) Chair Robert Tierney, New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation Chair Christina Davis and community residents. The foundation funded the initiative.

“This is a very exciting day for the community to gather together and celebrate this historic district in their neighborhood,” said Davis.

The district, bound by Forest Avenue, Fairview Avenue, Gates Avenue and Woodbine Street, is the third historic area in Ridgewood. It gained the designation from LPC in September 2009. It was approved by the City Council the following month.

“The historical district designation recognizes the deep cultural legacy that exists in Ridgewood and will preserve this legacy for generations to come,” said Reyna.

The LPC is also considering a proposal to make Central Ridgewood a historic district, The area is bound by Forest Avenue, Fresh Pond Road, Woodbine Street and 71st Avenue. The project would protect about 940 intact brick row houses built by German Americans in the early 1900s.