Friday, September 3, 2010

Queens Tribune "Best of Queens 2010" - Historic Picks By Rego-Forest Preservation Council

The Best of Queens 2010 edition of the Queens Tribune was published for the week of Aug 26th - Sept 1st. It is a tradition that its readers anticipate, and have the privilege of playing a role. It is an annual magazine, and in culmination on your bookcase, it will speak measures about Queens when viewed in a decade. In fact, it already has, being that it features numerous sites that are an integral part of our borough; some of which has a varied and distinctive history of their own, awaiting discovery and re-discovery. We thank the Queens Tribune for their diligent work!

The cover presents the iconic Unisphere of the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows Park with soaring fountains; an attention-grabber that reads Queens all over it! The preface begins with words of inspiration, To Be The Best, at the foot of a recent work of art, the Willow Lake Preserve gate. It then reads "Queens is known for many things - its people, its foods, its schools, its attitude, and so much more. One of the highlights is the parks, which are more plentiful in our borough than anywhere else. But in asking the readers of the Queens Tribune what is the Best of Queens, you may be surprised by the answers. From the music groups to the mom and pop shops, there is something to love in every hidden corner of this great borough. So turn the page and see what your neighbors and friends have deemed the Best of Queens. You may even find yourself."

Since this is a preservation blog, we will touch upon the historic sites that deliver character, which won a place in the Queens Tribune's annual edition. Whether large or small, these physical characteristics grant our neighborhoods a sense of place, so we can take pride in calling it our own, while our neighbors can share in our pride. And here they are.....

Best of Queens Places 2010

Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, 1 Tennis Place, Forest Hills
"Its architectural significance is important to the community, and has the potential to revive our local economy. It is not a shell of the past, but a tremendous historical sight we need to share with future generations. It's an international icon that Queens is blessed to have. It's endangered, but extensively endorsed for landmarking. It is a potential 21st century family destination if sold, funded, restored, and reused." - Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Chair

Please Help Our Landmark Letter Campaign:
Photos & memorabilia:

The historic home to tennis, music, architectural firsts or "Wimbledon of the New World." Classics live on forever. Don't let it live on only in history texts. Landmarking, restoration, & mixed-use creative revitalization, so future generations will thank you. Aerial photo by Hamilton-Maxwell Inc, 1929
Bob Dylan at home of Summer Music Festivals, August 28, 1965. Let him have a reason to sing his classic hit, "SAVED!"

Bank of America, 99-01 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills (Metropolitan Industrial Bank, 1952)
"By famed architect Philip Birnbaum. Award-winning "International Style" facade and interior. Revolutionary - first bank to use all industrial materials, and redefined banking." - Michael Perlman

Photos & memorabilia:

Award-winning mid-century modern masterpiece by Architect Philip Birnbaum. When a bank was a bank!
Queensborough magazine: Recipient of 1952 Bronze Building Award during Queens Chamber of Commerce's annual building competitions, based upon its excellence in design and civic value. These competitions would encourage owners and architects to exercise their minds. This signifies how some modernistic sites can have class.

Jorissen's Millstones, Long Island City
"Endangered in cases on a construction site in Queens Plaza, LIC. Remnant of first tidal mill in Western Queens." - Michael Perlman

Photos & blog posting:

Best of Queens Food 2010

Eddie's Sweet Shop, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave, Forest Hills

"One of the last virtually intact, classic ice cream parlors citywide. One of the earliest mom & pop businesses in Queens extant." - Michael Perlman

"Premium ice cream, quality service." - Brian M. Bast, Oakdale

"Homemade ice cream with fresh made whipped cream. They keep it in a big bowl in the fridge. Plus the decor is from the 40s, I think. And they have a cute gift shop." - Elizabeth Marco, Queens


All routes to Eddie's Sweet Shop, your classic soda fountain! Building by Seelig & Finkelstein, 1925
Eddie's Sweet Shop interior, known as Witt's Ice Cream in the 1940s. The decor dates to 1925 according to the Dept of Buildings, but some claim 1909. It was presumably a bakery cafe in the 1920s. The most intact example of an ice cream parlor citywide! Note its marble and wood counter, cast-iron stools, vintage fridge, ornate stenciled built-ins, clock. honeycomb mosaic floor, tin ceiling, chandeliers, original phone booth...and dates since your great-grandparents' time. Please NEVER shutter!

Best of Queens Senses 2010

Weeping Willow Trees, Flushing
"There are several near the Jewel Ave exit ramp near the L.I.E. It reminds me of my childhood in Louisiana." - Susan Margolis, Forest Hills

Best of Queens People 2010

Property Owners Who Preserve Young To Mature Trees, Evident on select Queens properties
"Trees convey life, beauty, and sustain our environment." - Michael Perlman

Kudos to MacDonald Park & Forest Hills Jewish Center for preserving their trees. Our own backyard is the "Garden of Eden." No concrete lawns here!

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