Monday, January 14, 2008

The changing face of Forest Hills North

The north side of Forest Hills was largely developed by Cord Meyer in the prewar years. Most of the original homes were designed in the Georgian style, with a few Tudor-bethans and Mission-styles thrown in. The first photo shows 108-40 70th Avenue, a rare Spanish Mission-style home surrounded by original Georgian houses and modern Bukharian tract mansions. It is located only a block away from the busy 71st-Continental Avenue subway station. It even has its original garage door. I wonder how long this house will last.

The second photo shows a typical Bukharian mansion that is becoming commonplace on the north side of Forest Hills. It is about a block away from the first photo. The new home has excess written all over it:
-A parking driveway that fits up to six cars!
-Windows that do not line up.
-Too many columns.

If there is any saving grace to this building, it's the fact that it isn't surrounded by an ugly 6-foot high brick fence.

-mazeartist

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

mazeartist, I heart you!

I've been dying to send a picture of that house into this blog, but I was scard to take actually take a photo and potentially get "whacked" by the owner of the said "mansion"...

faster340 said...

I have seen worse. At least it wasn't built with that ugly cheap yellow brick they are using so readily!

Anonymous said...

You are really stretching to complain about something with this post.

Anonymous said...

Yes, McMansions are wonderful. Forget that they frequently have no green space around them as the yards have been paved over with the latest cheesy-looking surface, waste electricity and heat and tax our sewer system. Damn it, this is America and those who live here should have the right to live selfishly.

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna build my dacha on the Black Sea so I can get far away from these folks as possible!

Anonymous said...

I have seen worse. At least it wasn't built with that ugly cheap yellow brick they are using so readily! SAYS FASTER 340

hey faster go price out that "cheap yellow brick" it is not so cheap

Anonymous said...

Where do they get all the $$$$$$
to build these Mc Monsters?

Could it be from their home
in the Poppy growing region?

Anonymous said...

If you are so worried about wasting heat and electricity, then we should have more multi-family housing and apartment buildings. Suburban sprawl-type living takes up a lot more heat, gas and electricity than urban living.

Julie said...

So you think we should tear down low-rise neighborhoods and replace them with apartment buildings? Queens sewer, school and electrical systems were not built to handle that and can't even keep up with the level we're at now, but who cares, pile em on! You must work for the Bloomberg administration.

Anonymous said...

The Bloomberg strategy: Convince everyone that you're being "green" while you go about allowing really stupid, harmful things to be done to the environment in order to make developer pals wealthy. AIA text amendment is another good example. Paired with "green yards" initiative.

Anonymous said...

How about cutting down a forest while planting street trees?

Anonymous said...

A few things bother me about this post. First of all, this house isnt that bad at all. It has grass in front of it!! A huge difference from most of the hosues going up in flushing. Yes it has a six car driveway, but thats because in that neighborhood, there is very limited street parking, and they had more than enough room to put the driveway. Would you prefer the house be built to the lot line? Now I cant tell 100% from the photo but it looks like there might be a backyard too. If this house were in flushing it would be all concrete to fit 20 cars. You can tell that the house was not just thrown together like alot of the McMansions going up today. The windows are of a decent size and do not span 3 stories. And this is much better than yellow or white brick which is also popular these days.
And with respect to efficiency... Alot of these newer homes are actually more efficient than older homes. Have you seen an outdated kitchen...usually with appliances that are not energy star compliant. New houses are built with insulation and brick. New heating systems allows for more zones so the heating system can heat specific areas of the house rather than working 24-7 to heat a few rooms. The windows and doors are both more efficient due to the insulation used. This may come as a shock, but not every old house has been updated. There are alot of houses out there that still have single pane windows which allow in cold air. And how exactly is this probably 4 bedroom home adding to the sewer system by replacing a smaller probably 4 or 5 bedroom home? If this were in flushing...where they were sleeping 10 to a room, I would agree, but they dont build them like this just to pile 50 people in it. Use your heads people.

Anonymous said...

Little strip of grass in the front, little strip of grass in the back. Leads to a lot of water in the basement after a good storm.

Anonymous said...

"Yes it has a six car driveway, but thats because in that neighborhood, there is very limited street parking, and they had more than enough room to put the driveway."

So families should own 6 cars? How the hell many people live in this house?

Anonymous said...

"Would you prefer the house be built to the lot line?"

How about a side yard? These were commonplace in Queens once upon a time.

Anonymous said...

"And with respect to efficiency... Alot of these newer homes are actually more efficient than older homes."

Everything about this home screams "efficiency".

Anonymous said...

"how exactly is this probably 4 bedroom home adding to the sewer system by replacing a smaller probably 4 or 5 bedroom home?"

Footprint of the building larger + paved over sideyard = less open ground to soak up rainwater = overtaxing of sewer system = flooding.

Anonymous said...

Nice new house, larger and better than yours = bitter and jealous commenters.

Anonymous said...

US Energy Usage

Anonymous said...

If you are so worried about wasting heat and electricity, then we should have more multi-family housing and apartment buildings. Suburban sprawl-type living takes up a lot more heat, gas and electricity than urban living.

----------
oh oh astorians.com is striking back at crappie!!!

Anonymous said...

If families want and need to own 6 cars, it is their right to do so. BUT, if this family only owns 2 cars, but entertains alot, should their guests have no where to park? Do none of you entertain on holidays? Have birthday parties, Graduations, etc.? And that older house in the picture is built very close to the sidewalk is it not? It doesnt look like it has alot of grass. So stop complaining that this house doesnt have enough grass. Better than having none.

Anonymous said...

The older house clearly has more green space. Back when the landscaping around the house was important.

Anonymous said...

You're going to make a 6-car driveway for when you have guests? Are you kidding me?

Anonymous said...

Just yesterday, a similar McMansion was having an open house on nearby Jewel Avenue and 112th Street. The front door waso pen, so that passing drivers could marvel at the huge chandelier inside. This was only a couple of years after the McMansion was expanded.

Looks like some of these homeowners only intend to demolish, expand, then move out and cash in quick.

Anonymous said...

Y"ou're going to make a 6-car driveway for when you have guests? Are you kidding me?"

Yes, If I have 2 or 3 cars, why is it so crazy to want to have 2-3 extra off street parking spots? Especially if they have the space for it. Its not like those multifamily houses that pave the whole lot for every unit which will own 3 cars that are going up in the crapfields of Flushing and Maspeth, so I think its fine.

Anonymous said...

Im assuming this is the area around Jewel Avenue in Forest Hills. Jewel from the Grand Central to 108 street has seen so many tear downs. I was there recently and must have counted at least 10-12 brand new McMansions. There are a few old homes left though.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Malba meets Kazakstan!

A catastrophe from the Caucasian steppes!

Man.....
this makes those pretentious palaces
that the Rus from Brighton Beach build
look tasteful.

Anonymous said...

Aside from peaceful sequestered
Forest Hills Gardens.....
the rest of FH is a densely populated city within a city.

It's only bound to get worse!

Anonymous said...

An alphabet lesson:

"A" is for "Alley Katz"......
the "A" hole pol who is vehemently
anti landmarking.

"B" is for "Bukharian Bad Taste".....
when it comes to architecture!

Come to think of it....."A" follows "B"......
in reverse order.
i.e. Katz & Kasiev
(co-destroyers of the landmark worthy
Trylon Theater) !

Anonymous said...

I was married 53 years ago in the backyard of 108-40 70th Ave. The house was designed and custom-built by my in-laws when they moved to NYC from Texas in 1939-40. The house was designed both inside and outside to remind them of the Spanish mission style they knew in Austin. The inside was a very beautiful comfortable home over the years for a family with 3 young sons.

Anonymous said...

Tully sez they all miss 108-40!

It will last forever because we have it in our hearts, no matter how far away it ever is.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to the previous 2 posts - I too miss 108-40 70th dearly. Being the youngest granddaugher of the original occupants, I don't think -or rather I KNOW that the style, construction,or the memories can be duplicated in any way by the new homes going up in the area.

Anonymous said...

The house you picture, at 108-40 70 Avenue was built in 1939 by my parents; my two brothers and I grew up in it. Its architect was a Mr. Edmund Mallory. The interior reflected his caring eye for detail and thoughtful design. Each of the bedrooms referenced the different character and aspirations of the inhabitant. My room, for example, spoke of aviation. The walls curved up at the top and merged into a light blue ceiling, with thin white clouds. (Today I still hold a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating. Although I'm now inactive, my older child flies 747s around the world. He too knew 108-40.)

As for your "peaceful, sequestered Forest Hills Gardens". . . Well, in fact, my father did first look precisely there for a place to build. He was told, ever so politely, "We don't think you'd be happy here." We were the wrong religion, you see.

Today my wife and I live in a house we built when we moved down to Austin, Texas. Curiously, it looks not too dissimilar in style from 108-40, nor from the little house in Austin, still standing, whence my parents took some of their own inspiration. And we sneer at nobody else's preference in housing.

Anonymous said...

As one of the eight grandchildren of the original owners who designed and built 108-40,I too share many wonderful memories of that unlikely Spanish mission beauty. I am really enjoying reading the family posts--thank you, all!!!!

The house was magical--filled with lovely, hand-wrought details, such as a coffered ceiling painted with flowers in the living room and walls of swirling plaster with curvy built-in niches. At the same time, the house was up-to-the minute modern--circa 1939--with all the latest gadgets beloved by my grandmother, and an art deco flair--how we loved bubble baths in her deep blueberry-colored bathtub and playing astronaut in her "spaceship" recliner.

We could all fill a book I'm sure, but perhaps my fondest memories are of the three children's bedrooms, all outfitted with bunk beds and a transporting sense of imagination. My father's room(where I always slept)had a nautical theme--with ropes, anchors,a shipdeck balcony, and a real porthole built into the wall beside the bed, behind which a painted scene beckoned in the distance. Across the way, the walls of one uncle's room were faced with logs to evoke a frontier cabin, and next door, as my other uncle has described, his room stoked the dreams of more than one aspiring pilot.

Forty years later, I live in a house filled with a different kind of history--an old Victorian in Cambridge, MA--but, to this day, whenever I walk by a rosebush, I stop, close my eyes, and inhale, and I'm transported back to my grandmother's beautiful garden at 108-dash-40.