Friday, September 25, 2009

This house will soon be crap

From the Huffington Post:

I lived on the outskirts of the Broadway-Flushing neighborhood in Queens for 13 years between 1993 and 2007. In contrast to the congested, noisy and crowded downtown Flushing corridor, Broadway-Flushing, clustered on the blocks north and south of Northern Boulevard between Murray Street and Utopia Parkway, features quiet, tree-lined streets and single-family homes in classic styles: English Tudors, colonials, ranches, Cape Cods. When real-estate developers Rickert-Finley Realty built Broadway-Flushing in the first decade of the 20th Century, restrictive covenants were placed on the properties that banned front yard fences, front-yard garages, and flat roofs.

Trouble in paradise, though, has come along in the early 21st Century as McMansions have sprung up, and the hedges, lawns and classic architecture that were the hallmarks of the Rickert-Finley Broadway-Flushing have been replaced by ugly fencing and in the worst cases, paved front yards, the better to park station wagons and sport utility vehicles. The situation in the Kissena Park area south of Northern Boulevard east of 162nd Street is even worse, as there have been entire blocks in which single family homes have been razed in favor of ugly brick boxes studded with Fedders air conditioning boxes, fire escapes already rusting soon after completion, and of course the universal concrete front yards.

Do I condemn the increasing number of multifamily units replacing single family houses? If Mayor Bloomberg's prediction about 9 million New Yorkers in 2030 comes true, multi-family units will be an increasing necessity. But do modern developers and architects need to build junk? Walk the streets of Astoria, Ridgewood and Sunnyside, and scan the blocks featuring row upon row of yellow-brick buildings built by Gustave Mathews, with bricks from the old Balthazar Kreischer kilns in Staten Island. Check out the boxy apartment buildings anywhere in the five boroughs that have been kept up by conscientious landlords. That's multi-family housing at its best, and housing from which modern-day developers of middle-class housing should take their cues.


Anonymous said...

I can not stand crapitecture, as can be defined by all the hallmarks as noteed in the post (thru-wall ACs, rusting balconies, etc), and yes builders and architects CAN make better stuff, however, who is going to want to pay for it?

If you can buy a crap-piece for 600k but is, by all accounts, a very livable, safe space, are you really going to spend 200k just to make it look nicer?

Its a sad reality.

As for throwing up fences and paving over yards, well, for that we have to thank the "vibrant and diverse" populations that are moving in who dont want to deal with neighbors, or yard work.

Anonymous said...

Ask people in downzoned and landmarked neighborhoods who will spend more to live in a non-crappified area.

a resident said...

A large portion of the blame for this travesty must sit heavily upon the shoulders of the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association (BFHA).

It looks like they fell down, or at least stumbled, on the job sometime back in 1964!

When its founders outlined the perimeter of their neighborhood for purposes of their purview, they apparently chose to exclude this section which IS COVERED by the Rickert Finley Covenants or deed restrictions.

If they had selected to include the area south of Crocheron Ave. to Depot Road (even some portions south of Northern B'lvd.) within their scope they might have prevented the construction of multi-family dwellings.

Why? Who knows? It's too late now!

What's the future of Broadway/Flushing?

For that matter, what's the future of the BFHA...composed largely of an aging "white" membership?

Do its "church ladies" have the stomach for a hand to hand fight to save this wonderful area?

Or will it be politely handed over to to the Mc Mansion builders like in Malba and Beechurst?

One thing for sure...the denial of municipal landmark status by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission for this lovely area... which already has achieved State National Historic District status is an indication that city planning has already planned for its future development.

R1-2a down zoning is a far as it's going to go and, sorry, it'll be no municipal district district for them folks unless they change their battle tactics ASAP!

Anonymous said...

There were some other beautiful homes located along Crocheron Ave. between 165th & 166th Streets that are gone...a showplace tudor, a grand Mediterranean villa, stately colonials on its side streets, etc.

They have since been replaced by the architecture of brutality...graceless cost effective treeless brick boxes to warehouse humanity!

It's all about how many pieces of crap you can cram into one building lot and how many people you can fleece and stuff into these ersatz luxury rabbit warrens!

Anonymous said...

It can't be stopped. Crapification is inevitable in all of single-family home-Queens, as it becomes more like the Bronx and Brooklyn. Sad, but true.

Anonymous said...

The southern side of Crocheron Avenue seems to be the dividing line for BFHA's defined neighborhood although it's within the Rickert Finley area.

Why divide a street in half with one side covered and the other not?

It doesn't make any sense unless there were some "political" considerations for that decision.

Anonymous said...

Do I condemn the increasing number of multifamily units replacing single family houses? If Mayor Bloomberg's prediction about 9 million New Yorkers in 2030 comes true, multi-family units will be an increasing necessity.

ah, why?

how is another 9 million people my problem just because the mayor wants it.

nothing is inevitable and development and 'growth' is not sustainable.

zero population growth!

Anonymous said...

It can't be stopped. Crapification is inevitable in all of single-family home-Queens, as it becomes more like the Bronx and Brooklyn. Sad, but true


Sorry, Mr Hack/Developer, nothing is inevitable - just ask the folks in Brooklyn Heigths or Landmarks West.

Seems like they have figured thing out - and the bullies dont want to share.

Anonymous said...

Another deceitful megalomaniac Robert Moses also predicted the need to build and build and build for a bigger population that never ever came to New York.

It was just a ruse to facilitate the massive up zoning of NYC neighborhoods back in 1961.

Bloomberg's bullshit isn't even his own original bullshit.

It's Moses' rehashed crappy lie to lubricate hizzoner's plans to over develop NYC so that his rich real estate industry pals like Ratner can become even richer!

Kick that skinny ass wimp out of City Hall for good this November!

Where does that 5' 7" midget buy his suits anyway... the boys department at Brooks Brothers?

Erik Baard said...

I don't oppose redevelopment out of hand, but it's stunning how cheaply things are constructed these days. Towers should be designed beautifully -- they are public art, or at very least part of our shared landscape. And these smaller developments that are chintzy and charmless are just so dispiriting.

There's nothing more ecologically sustainable than quality that lasts.

The core truth is that all owners benefit from standards are maintained, but we have a surrendering of time scales. Neighborhoods operate over generations, while most developers operate over fiscal quarters. Generations must triumph over quarters.

Anony2 said...

Well, most of the crapitecture will fall down and be condemned in about 20 years. Most if the old buildings from the 20's will also fall down by then. Maybe all of Flushing will be redeveloped into a place we will want to live in. But, by that time most of us will have moved out of NYC.

Gabel said...

I grew up on a beautiful street of homes in Rego Park built in 1929. As a group, with their green lawns and plantings, they had a harmonious style and grace. Over the last 10 years, a third of them have been torn down and replaced with hideous monstrosities decorated with all the cheap and tacky crap the owners think looks good. Concrete parking covers where green grass and azaleas once grew. I think they picked up their taste in a Dollar Store close-out bin!

I took the Q-38 bus to school and every day passed an old house in Middle Village on a very large lot that I knew was important. I later learned it was the Morrell house built in 1712. It was the second oldest house in NYC and was destroyed by a developer who put six units of Queens crap in its place.