Friday, January 2, 2015

Armstrong museum expansion gets green light

From the Queens Courier:

A $20 million annex expansion of the landmarked Louis Armstrong House Museum, named for the famed jazz musician, is on the way after meeting zoning regulations.

Plans have been filed with the Buildings Department on Friday to construct the proposed educational visitors center on vacant land near the museum at 34-49 107th St. in Corona.

Design work on the new center dates as far back as 2007, but construction on the project was stalled due to a necessary variance application from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA).

The new two-story project needed approval for a waiver to be built closer to neighboring property lines than zoning laws allow.

The BSA gave the project the green light last year, following support from Community Board 3 and the borough president’s office. Now the project is in the construction phase, according to a representative.

The museum is hoping to build the new 8,737-square-foot annex, which is designed by architecture firm Caples Jefferson, for more exhibit space and a store to better accommodate the more than 12,000 visitors who come to the museum each year.


Anonymous said...

Well we know what happened to the Steinway Mansion support.

Anonymous said...

Funny how the BSA does things much quicker for private residential developers while dragging its feet on granting a variance for a museum.

Anonymous said...

first poster.

The Queens elite feel more comfortable chasing support and votes in East Elmhurst than sticking out like sore thumbs in the crowd that flocks around a Steinway Piano.

A venue of sophistication, polish, and real culture is just not their thing - that is unless you want a restaurant or a sidewalk for the building.

Anonymous said...

12,000 visitors per year? And for how much longer? All props to Louis, but I think that as the decades roll on, his name will be a lot less recognized or cared about.

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 4:

And that's a shame.

Anonymous said...

"All props to Louis, but I think that as the decades roll on, his name will be a lot less recognized or cared about."

Wrong! You know nothing of jazz and Armstrong's contribution to American Music. He was much more than "Hello Dolly" And "What a Wonderful World"

Anonymous said...

I would make sure to get out of that neighborhood before the sun sets. A horrible venue for such a sophisticated museum .

Anonymous said...

The article doesn't even mention him walking on the moon!

I always wondered why there was a rocket in flushing meadows.

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 7 -

Louis Armstrong lived in Corona.

Anonymous said...

Wrong! You know nothing of jazz and Armstrong's contribution to American Music. He was much more than "Hello Dolly" And "What a Wonderful World"
Look how the attendance at Graceland is falling off, or how tastes evolve - one time mainstays of dance, music and theater suddenly or slowly change - watch a variety show from the 1950s or a vaudeville revue from the 1920s and see what we mean.

Armstrong will be supported by public money - like the Queens Museum - and will linger for that reason for quite some time. The problem for both is their location - its a hike coupled with poor transportation - and thin gruel for the effort when far better low hanging fruit is so much easier to get to.

But since they both give the politicians a forum for their support of minorities (as is everything in Queens these days) the charade will be propped up indefinitely.

Yes, the suggestions that the local movers and shakers in Astoria have for the Steinway mansion - developing the property and gutting that building in the first steps to make those lots 'useful' with development - really sucks and will give Finkelpearl and his borough of Queens a black eye - but then again, everyone expects only the worst from that area so its no surprise.

What a missed opportunity! What stupid people! But hell, stick a brewery there (as rumor has it) and all the kids will love it. What does that tell you about changing tastes?

Expatriot Jackson Heights resident said...

What a butt ugly piece of "architecture". This is whar a backwater borough like Queens can boast about? That's why I've since moved to Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

Caples Jefferson has two partners, one minority, the other a woman so they come from the correct backgrounds.

Their website is curious, with the use of nearly illegible Eras Bold font, which is a mistake that an under-graduate student at LaGuardia would use on an exhibit but not something we would expect from an award winning creative firm for their own website.

But, where their style is suspect, their Rolodex is golden: Queens Theater in the Park, Queens Museum of Art, MLK Memorial Apollo Theatre, Weeksville Heritage Center, Marcus Garvey Community Center, Central Harlem Alcohol Crisis Center, New Spirit Café, Community Center for a number of Brooklyn Housing Projects, blah, blah, blah

Everything pretty much variations on the same theme.

Only familiar with their work on tacking a new entrance on to the Queens Theater: it reminds me of the Rolls Royce grills that people used to put on the Volkswagon Beetles a few decades back, remember?

Boy, would love to see a list of their sub-contractors and whose brother-in-law and cousins get their share of the gravy. They are obviously one of the house firms for the Party.

But let’s not be too catty. Their Armstrong work may not have space for the buses that clog the narrow streets disgorging students dutifully trucked to that location (perhaps, after the hoopla dies down, they may have to tear up the sloping lawn that was built to attract birds), but it DOES have a green roof that should absorb a portion of the traffic and bus exhaust in what was formerly a quiet family neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Talk about dated looking "architecture". What a lemon. Must be a cousin of the borough president who was awarded the job.