To nominate a landmark-worthy site, interior, or district, complete a Request For Evaluation form: www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/propose/propose.shtml
|Mayor Robert Wagner signing the Landmarks Law, April 19, 1965, Photograph by Margot Gayle, Courtesy of the New York Preservation Archive Project|
History has proven that it may take a travesty to result in some success stories. Back in 1963, hundreds of New Yorkers marched, urging the city to preserve the classic Penn Station back in 1963, but watched in awe as the wrecking ball slammed the grand ionic columns, eagles, and palatial arched interior. In 1965, the city responded to those pleas when Mayor Robert Wagner signed the Landmarks Law, but it could not resurrect Penn Station’s glory.
Nevertheless, the LPC did not act swiftly to calendar, hear, and designate other unofficial landmarks such as Howard Johnson’s Restaurant on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park, nicknamed “The largest roadside restaurant in the United States,” and the Singer Building, one of America’s first skyscrapers to be illuminated at night.
|Howard Johnson's not landmarked in time & demolished... all for a banal black glass office tower. Note the Trylon & Perisphere monuments, the symbol of the 1939 World's Fair in the background.|
LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan explained, “Over the past 50 years, we have protected over 33,000 architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings and sites throughout all five boroughs. I am proud to say that since I was appointed Chair, we have designated around 1,700 additional buildings.”
Many community residents feel that Forest Hills and Rego Park, which have a shared history that dates to 1906 and 1923, have long been underserved by the LPC in the name of Individual Landmarks (facades), Interior Landmarks, and Historic Districts. Forest Hills has three landmarks which are the Remsen Cemetery (designated 1981), the Ridgewood Savings Bank (designated 2000), and Engine Company 305, Hook &Ladder Company 151 (designated 2012). Rego Park has yet to receive designations.
|Engine Co. 305, Hook & Lader Co. 151, Photo by Michael Perlman|
|Ridgewood Savings Bank, 107-55 Queens Blvd, Photo by Michael Perlman|
|Remsen Cemtery, Photo by Michael Perlman|
The firm emphasized the need for greater public education about architecture and the landmarking process. Dadras Architects explained, "Landmarking is overwhelmingly successful in every scenario; from economically to socially to environmentally. Property values have increased, historic architecture has been restored, and new buildings nearby have been designed better." They continued, "Preservation always costs less than building anew, is greener, supports your local businesses, and enables potential grants and tax credits for restoration."
"Preservation should extend beyond the Forest Hills Gardens," stated Dadras Architects. They proposed a historic preservation weekend in Forest Hills and Rego Park, consisting of tours and educational conferences as an initial step.
|Historian Jeff Gottlieb, President of Central Queens Historical Association, leads the Downtown Forest Hills Tour at the corner of Austin St & Continental Ave, September 2010|
|Metropolitan Industrial Bank building, 99-01 Queens Blvd in 1952, Courtesy of Queens Chamber of Commerce|
|Metropolitan Industrial Bank building at 99-01 Queens Blvd in 2014, Photo by Michael Perlman|
|Former Jamaica Savings Bank at 89-01 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst in 2009, Photo by Michael Perlman|
|A National Register of Historic Places site: Forest Hills Post Office, 106-28 Queens Blvd, Photo by Greg Godfrey|
|Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, Photo by Michael Perlman|
|Forest Close, Photo by Michael Perlman|
|Arbor Close, Photo by Michael Perlman|
|Medical Society of The County of Queens, 115-25 Queens Blvd, Photo by Michael Perlman|
|Sterling National Bank at 108-01 Queens Blvd in 1963, Originally Masonic Temple followed by Boulevard Bank|
Edward Wendell, President of the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society, eyes Historic District status for a large section of Forest Park and the LaLance & Grojean Factory Clock Tower, and said, “I hope the 50th anniversary celebration will bring attention to the many extremely worthy locations around Queens. Each site we can secure with landmarking is one to be enjoyed for generations to come.” He questioned, “Why imagine what these places looked like or view them in old pictures?”
|LaLance & Grojean Factory Clock Tower at the turn-of-the-century, Courtesy of Project Woodhaven|