The forgotten art of advertising thermometers

From functional thermometers to collectible art

By Michael Perlman

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Lawrence Brown Prime Meat Market circa 1940s, Rego Park.

Some vintage items may be collecting dust, but think twice about tossing them — since they may hold artistic, historical and financial value.

Such is the case of long-forgotten “advertising thermometers,” which were advertised in newspapers in the late 1890s, while keeping in mind that Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the modern thermometer in 1714. These relics could be found locally and nationally.

In the 1890s, America was largely rural and other than postcards and trade cards, it was generally a challenge to advertise, but thermometers engaged the public in a unique way through design and could be readily observed and utilized.

In the 1920s, as towns and cities across America evolved from rural to more urbanized destinations, the analog thermometers became even more prevalent.

They were a popular form of advertising for everything from bakeries to liquor stores to meat markets, and from food, automobile, healthcare and photography industries to World’s Fair expositions.

Most came with hangers to display inside or outside a home.

After the 1980s, they dwindled in popularity, and increasingly so as a result of mass advertising and detecting temperatures through digital technologies.

Today, there is an average of 11,000-plus advertising thermometers on eBay at any given time, and they are indeed a hot commodity, which capture nearly every theme and size imaginable and sell anywhere from 99 cents to $8,345.

1942 Art Deco Coca-Cola advertising thermometer.

Some standout thermometers are a die-cut 1910s “Drink Moxie,” a St. Bernard washed coal, a girl drinking Coca-Cola in 1939, Snow White cream soda, OshKosh B’gosh Work Wear, a Norman Rockwell-themed 1984 General Motors Parts, a cartoon-like Nesbitt’s Orange Soda and “Plant Coker Hybrids.”

Decades ago, a business owner could not have predicted that what was offered to patrons as a promotional means, whether free or as a bonus alongside a purchase, would hold a high value for today’s collectors.

Often for local brands, rare early wood thermometers could be circular and nine to 12 inches in diameter, whereas a rectangular model could be astonishingly up to six feet.

Most frequently, they were 17 inches.

Empire State Building advertising thermometer.

Diverse shapes initiated character with round signs bearing clock-like hands, whereas others were vertical rectangles or squares.

Sometimes they resembled the products that they represented such as a bottle of soda.

It was the thought of advertisers that it would remain on display in a shop longer than a more predictably shaped advertising thermometer.

The outdoor models, which rose in popularity in the 1920s, especially for rural areas, enabled residents to determine not only the temperature, but wind direction.

Advertising thermometers can be found in styles including Colonial, Victorian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Early models were manufactured from tin and wood, which somewhat transitioned to porcelain.

In the 1940s, Masonite was the preferred choice for drugstore advertising thermometers.

Some manufacturers’ names can be discovered in classified ads, if not evident on advertising thermometers.

An ad published in The New York Sun on Aug. 15, 1897 read, “Wanted — Our line of advertising thermometer novelties for 1897-1898 is now ready. We pay liberal commission to competent salesmen. Send 10 cents in stamps for catalogue, sample and terms. Taylor Bros. Co., Rochester, N.Y.”

“Where the good thermometers come from” was their slogan.

Taylor Instruments was founded by George Taylor, a Stoddard native in 1851.

In the early 20th century, their factories were not only in Rochester, but in Toronto, London, New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

The firm evolved into what is presently known as Taylor Precision Products, which is acclaimed in measurement products.

The Feb. 22, 1899 edition of Printers’ Ink — A Journal For Advertisers, featured a Taylor Bros. Co. ad, where an excerpt reads: “The wood thermometer has been used as an advertising medium for a number of years and is to-day a staple article. The force of the wood advertising thermometer lies in being able to read weather temperatures at a greater distance than is possible with small thermometers.”

It continues, “By omitting the words usually printed upon one side of the thermometer scale — ‘Zero,’ ‘Freezing,’ ‘Temperate,’ etc., and alternating the figures of the scale on either side of the tube, makes it possible to use figures more than twice as large.”

An illustrated Taylor Brothers Co. ad ran in The Magazine of Business in 1905, which read: “What will you give your customers this year? The best thing to keep your name before them is an Advertising Thermometer. More valuable than calendars or novelties because they are appreciated and work for you every day for years. Better pay 12 ½ cents for an attractive 7” x 2” aluminum thermo with your ad on (see cut) than one-half as much for a one-man or one-year advertisement. Our 56 page Catalog B of other styles free.”

Another ad, published in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Jan. 11, 1925 read, “Fastest selling advertising thermometer calendar combination, 17c, metal back, three colors, uncond. guarantee, money making sideline. Newton Mfg. Co., Dept 17, Newton, Ia.”

This firm was founded in 1909.

From 1940 to the early 1970s, a dominant manufacturer was the Pam Clock Company, which produced advertising thermometers and clocks for large firms, and epitomized the industry. Coca-Cola and RC Cola were among thousands of organizations that appointed the firm to illuminate their image.

“Go For Bunny Bread” and “Ask For Valvoline Motor Oil” are two classic examples of round Pam thermometers, which consists of a 14” aluminum housing with domed-glass crystal.

The analog dial would be customized by logos or slogans.

Along the lines of the Pam Clock, the thermometer was backlit with super bright LED lamps.

Forest Hills and Rego Park shops earned their spot in the advertising thermometer field.

These collectibles that were distributed at local businesses are hard to find nowadays.

Continental Wine & Liquor Store, Forest Hills.

One example features “Continental Wine and Liquor Store,” which was located at 107-18 Continental Avenue and notes “Next to Forest Hills Theatre” in a nameplate accompanied by Art Deco detail.

It also ensures prompt deliveries and features a vintage phone number with a prefix: BOulevard 8-8865/8866.

The backing is wood and it features a carved frame that supports a colored mirrored surface.

The charming imagery consists of a woman sitting with her cat in front of a fireplace, and above the mantel are two candlesticks alongside a built-in thermometer. The manufacturer likely felt that this relaxing scene would complement any home’s décor while drawing one’s eye to the business.

Sometimes advertising thermometers tell a story that extends beyond a business, as in the case of the rare “Tilden Dairy and Delicatessen” collectible. This cherished business was located at 73-06 Austin Street and reads, “Everything from soup to nuts.”

Tilden Dairy & Delicatessen at Tilden Arms, Forest Hills.

Besides a thermometer, a three-minute sand glass was attached, which came in handy in the kitchen.

It dates to the time when Austin Street was nicknamed “The Village.”

This business was named after Tilden Arms at 73-20 Austin Street, a Georgian Colonial apartment building, completed in 1931.

It takes an advertising thermometer to inspire further research, where one learns that it was named after “Big Bill” Tilden, who won the U.S. National Championships, with wins in Forest Hills in 1920, 1924, 1925 and 1929. That included the first year at Forest Hills Stadium.

He holds a record for the most men’s singles titles and was the first American to win Wimbledon in 1920.

Advertising thermometers are bound to come in unique shapes. A classic example is a supersized ornate brass key that supports a thermometer.

It reads “1939 World’s Fair” and embossed on top is a depiction of the Fair’s symbolic Trylon and Perisphere monuments, which reflects the multicultural and innovative “World of Tomorrow” theme and could also be found at the Trylon Theater, on stationery, on cakes and on other forms of advertising countrywide.

1939 World’s Fair key thermometer with Trylon & Perisphere monuments on top.

Continuing the innovative theme, along with “Peace Through Understanding” is a 1964-1965 World’s Fair thermometer, which featured an embossed brass Unisphere, mounted on wood.

1964 – 1965 World’s Fair advertising thermometer.

Some advertising thermometers take the viewer to the great outdoors, as in the case of the circa 1940s “Lawrence Brown Prime Meat Market” thermometer, which features a watercolor-inspired scene of a Tudor cottage and a lush garden overlooking a lake with ducks.

This neighborly business was situated at 92-07 63rd Drive in Rego Park and memorializes the vintage prefix phone number found in HAvemeyer 4-0850.

The frame features unique Art Deco motifs.

In the 1950s, it became “Consumers Meat Market,” which longtime and former residents recall more so, but that too is long-gone.

“I enjoy looking at the wide variety of these thermometers available on the second-hand market,” said David Barnett, co-founder of Noble Signs and the New York Sign Museum.

“They showcase many styles of design and lettering. Some were distributed to shops and others as keepsakes directly to consumers. The practical value of a thermometer in a pre-digital age helped increase the likelihood that the advertisement would be saved instead of discarded.”

Now if you are not a collector, perhaps the foundation for an intriguing journey is about to begin

Volunteer group keeps Forest Hills clean

Forest Hills & Rego Park Graffiti Cleanup Initiative helps businesses

By Times Staff

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Volunteers cleaned up graffiti in various locations in Forest Hills, including Andre’s Hungarian Bakery.

A grassroots community group took to the streets of Forest Hills last week to restore the curb appeal of various local businesses.

The Forest Hills & Rego Park Graffiti Cleanup Initiative was founded in 2020 by Michael Perlman, a columnist for this newspaper, and Michael Conigliaro, the Republican candidate for the upcoming State Assembly District 28 election.

The group’s formation was inspired in part by the suspension of the Graffiti-Free NYC program by former 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, combined with an increasing number of local establishments tagged by vandals.

“Our community group’s mission is to restore and enhance commercial and residential properties by eliminating graffiti to foster civic pride,” Perlman said. “It’s our community, so we have the power in our hearts and fingertips to take it into our hands when we see a problem that needs to be addressed, rather than thinking that someone else will always pursue it.”

The initiative is powered solely by volunteers, and their work involves painting, scrubbing or power-washing properties that have been graffitied.

Group members conduct outreach to local businesses who may need help cleaning up and by posting about their efforts to social media.

These interactions have led to the recruitment of additional volunteers as well as donations from local businesses, including Ggny Painting Plus, AZ Painting & Refinishing and J&B Paint & Wallpaper.

Businesses that would like the Forest Hills & Rego Park Graffiti Cleanup Initiative to remove graffiti must first sign a consent form, and many are grateful for the positive impact the group has left in the community.

“If graffiti and other quality of life issues are not addressed in a timely manner, it often multiplies, but we are committed. As a case in point, it is a shame that some properties are tagged again, but it’s a matter of us to come forward and emphasize our commitment by maintaining them routinely,” Perlman said.

“I remember how the owners of YouTube 99 Cents on Queens Blvd in Forest Hills would thank me with a warm smile for volunteering, whenever I patronized their shop. We will soon be repainting their three gates.”

In addition to helping local neighborhoods and businesses on a larger scale, the initiative sets out to foster civic pride, teamwork and friendships.

“Volunteering has helped me understand my community, its history and I’ve met some great people from all walks of life throughout the process,” Kevin Sanichara, a Forest Hills resident and volunteer, said. “An area not being maintained leads to others not caring, which causes crime to go up and with the recent uptick in crime across New York City, it’s best we do our part as a community to keep the neighborhood pure and clean.”

Michael Perlman, Naima Sultana, Clifford Rosen and Kevin Sanichara help cover up a neighborhood eyesore.

Last Thursday, the group covered up eyesores tagged on numerous properties, including Andre’s Hungarian Bakery, Tu Casa Restaurant, Empire Liquors and NY Hot Bagels & Bialys in Forest Hills.

This Thursday evening, they plan to get together again and assist more businesses with graffiti removal.

Some group members feel it is their calling to volunteer.

“By working together in our community, we can bring lots of positive change. It could be graffiti cleaning, it could be preservation, it could be helping other neighbors who are in need. Our actions have a positive impact,” Naima Sultana, a volunteer and Forest Hills resident, said. “We all should have a purpose in our lives. My purpose is to help others,” she continued. “When I see my work bring a smile and joy in people’s lives, that is the greatest satisfaction of my life.”

The Forest Hills & Rego Park Graffiti Cleanup Initiative is proud to recruit new volunteers.

Those interested in participating can join the Facebook group “Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens – ‘Our Communities’” and contact Michael Perlman.

Perlman: A “REal GOod” Community To Turn 100

Marion Legler recalls Rego Park’s early days

By Michael Perlman

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Marion Legler on right with her daughter Karen with a sample of an uncirculated 1920s Rego Park collection, Photo by Michael Perlman.

In just a few months, residents can say “Happy 100th Birthday, Rego Park!”

Last Friday, this columnist had a follow-up of a 2016 Rego Park tour and interview with Marion Thone Legler (born 1932), who reflected upon her early life in Rego Park and why it is a “REal GOod” community.

She is the granddaughter of Joseph F. Thone (1870 – 1955), a builder and founding member of the Real Good Construction Company, and is among the last links to the neighborhood’s origins.

Now a resident of New Hyde Park, the meeting at her local library entailed digitizing over 70 uncirculated Rego Park photos commissioned by the firm’s founders.

“I am very honored that my father passed my grandfather’s precious photos on to me,” said Legler. “They have many memories of wonderful years of the early history of Rego Park. A museum containing information regarding Rego Park and Forest Hills would be invaluable to so many families.”

Marion Legler’s grandparents Joseph F Thone & Dorothea Thone doing chores in an elegant home, where only their dog poses.

Back in 1923, Rego Construction Company acquired farmland in Forest Hills West and named “Rego Park” after their advertising slogan, “REal GOod Homes.”

The typical story encompasses founders who immigrated from Germany; president Henry L. Schloh and secretary and treasurer Charles I. Hausmann, but Thone’s influence is a largely untold piece of the puzzle.

Legler’s rare photo collection documents a transition from farmland to a residential community in its first decade, the faces behind Rego Park and its earliest residents, the paving of roads, a trolley line along Queens Boulevard, the first shops, the Rego Park Community Club, P.S. 139, the ribbon-cutting of the 63rd Drive railroad station and a unique look inside an elegantly appointed house.

Many panoramic photos document the development of 525 eight-room, single-family “Rego Homes.” They included railroad-style Colonial frame houses with enclosed porches between 63rd Drive and Eliot Avenue along Saunders, Booth, Wetherole and Austin Streets, which sold for an approximate $7,500.

The collection follows with the development of the firm’s earliest and largely intact apartment houses along Saunders Street, which 70 families each called home: the Tudor-style Remo Hall (1927), the Spanish Mission-style Jupiter Court (1927) and Marion Court (1929), designed by Constantinople native Benjamin Braunstein.

Remo Hall, 61-40 Saunders St adorned with banners.

Legler believes that she was named after the latter building situated on Marion Avenue (now 63rd Avenue), stemming from her grandfather’s interest in the name.

Legler discussed the importance of preservation. “I believe in those early days, much thought went into preserving history. You can see that in the care that was taken when choosing architectural design. I am sure it was thought that these buildings would be in use for many years,” she said.

“Try your best to keep it preserved for future generations. Many good people gave much time and thought into what they prayed would be a Real Good place for families to live for generations to come,” she continued. “Only those who are here now can be a part of that prayer. It is in your hands. Don’t let those good people down.”

She began writing a memoir last December, which is slated for publication in January 2023.

“All chapters are about my life and my friends and family. I am writing it for my four daughters and their children,” Legler explained. “It will contain pictures and life stories. I want them to have it in print for future references.”

Legler has a rich family timeline in Rego Park.

“It began with my grandfather and grandmother, Joseph F. Thone and Dorothea Thone. Their home was at 63-35 Bourton Street. Then my parents, William (America native) and Anne Thone (Norway native), my sister Dorothy, my brother Donald and myself. We lived at 61-30 Booth Street. Also, my uncle Joseph H. Thone, his wife Peggy and their children Russell and Carol lived at 62-87 Booth Street. My uncle Walter Thone also lived at 63-35 Bourton Street,” she said.

Legler is grateful for fond memories with her grandparents: “I spent many days at their home. It was so beautiful,” she continued. “My grandmother always made me feel loved. She had two cats and a parrot that spoke English and German. I actually lived with them for nine months when my grandmother was very sick and my mother took care of her. I loved her dearly. After she died, we moved back into our home on Booth Street.”

Original Rego Park houses were known as railroad room homes, straight through from the front porch to the living room, dining room and kitchen.

She said, “The kitchen was quite large. Off the kitchen was the pantry with the ice box, pantry closet and back door. The ice man would deliver ice and put it in the top compartment. Thank goodness that kept everything cold. Dugan’s and Krug’s were the bread people. In the beginning, they came on a horse and buggy. Upstairs was three bedrooms and a bathroom. Another essential was a coal chute in the basement, since there was no gas heat.”

She continued, “We were lucky, as my grandfather built a staircase to the attic where there was usually a closet. My sister and brother and I slept up there during the 1939 World’s Fair, so my parents could take in tourists for extra money. Things were tough in those days.”

Legler takes pride in solid family values to this day.

“Everybody had to be at the table. If you were late for dinner, you were in big trouble. Before we would leave the table, we would say, ‘takk for maten’ (thank you for the food).”

Sunday dinner was after church at 1 p.m. and consisted of mostly roast beef and sometimes turkey.

She said, “The vegetables… you ate them.  Most were creamed and were German or Norwegian-style. Mom always made dessert…custard bread pudding, homemade pie, pineapple rice pudding from Norway and Brown Betty.”

Rego Park’s heyday featured diverse clubs: “Rego Park Community Club/Rego Park Clubhouse was on Jupiter Avenue (62nd Road) and Wetherole Street, where I had my wedding reception,” said Legler.

In 1928, her uncle Joseph H. Thone became president of the newly founded Rego Park Tennis Club, which operated on Saunders Street and 62nd Road.

Around 1929, he became secretary of the new Men’s Club of Lutheran Church of Our Saviour.

Legler recalls traveling mostly by bus or trolley, and then came the railroad and eventually the subway in 1936.

Queens Blvd trolley line with 2 cars, Rego Construction Co ad, Real Good Homes, April 10, 1925.

“I don’t know what my mom paid when we rode the trolley, but when I was old enough to ride the bus and subway, it was 5 cents,” she said.

Being raised in Rego Park was idyllic, according to Legler. A community fixture was “Buddy, the Bungalow Bar man.”

She reminisced, “I spent many days outdoors playing with neighborhood friends. We had great times playing handball, stickball, diamond ball, running basis, tag, football and stoop ball. At night, always hide and seek. Our parents would sit on the stoop and watch. We used to sleigh ride down 63rd Avenue and never had to worry about cars because there were very few. On Queens Boulevard, there were outdoor barbecue places, and we would be entertained for free.”

Off the north side of Queens Boulevard were swamps, Lost Battalion Hall and Howard Johnson’s.

The Art Deco Trylon Theater and Drake Theater were quite the attractions.

She said, “We always saw two movies, newsreels, cartoons and had a matron checking on us.” She saw mostly war films, but remembers many “Lassie” movies. She found “The Purple Heart” (1944) to be very moving.

She recalled her favorite shops: “On 63rd Drive, I loved Woolworth and across was McCrory’s. On Queens Boulevard between Eliot Avenue and 62nd, my dad owned a hardware store, which operated until ca.1939. I loved going there, since there were always fun things to see. He gave me my first roller skates; Kingston skates that came in a can.”

& plate glass, Queens Blvd near Eliot Ave.

Employment was sometimes a challenge, such as when her father gave up his hardware store during the Great Depression.

Legler is a graduate of P.S. 139, erected in 1929. She recalled, “We went from kindergarten through 8th grade. They taught arithmetic, the sciences, English, grammar and penmanship. In the upper grades, the boys took shop and the girls took home ed, which was learning how to be a housewife and a mother. Children went home for lunch.”

Victory gardening was prevalent during WWII and P.S. 139 participated.

“We grew carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, and celery,” Legler recalled. “We would bring money and buy what was called stamps, which was like a savings account. You learned how to cook in school, how to grow food outside, and how to save your money at the same time.”

Legler operated a key punch machine for General Motors. She said, “In 1950, my salary was $33 a week, and that was before they took everything out. We had food stamps, but they were good years, where families worked together.”

That same year, she graduated from Forest Hills High School and remained in Rego Park until her marriage in 1956 at Lutheran Church of Our Saviour.

Fast-forwarding to 2022, she said, “I am retired and spend as much time as I can with my children and grandchildren. Time is precious. Camping has always been a large part of our family’s time. I have done it with my girls since they were little, so today we have a trailer in the Poconos. This is my haven.”

Legler turned 90 on July 16 and her family threw her a party at her granddaughter Courtney’s home.

She said, “They did not surprise me this time about the party, but surprised me with who was invited. There were many good old friends and family members. Also, they hired a Mister Softee ice cream truck, my favorite.”

Her neighbor, who lived next door on Booth Street, turned 90 in August 2021.

She said,” I attended her celebration and she was at mine this year. I don’t know what they plan for my 100th, so I’ll try to stick around.”

Looking back, she said, “I am so proud to know that my grandfather played an important part in the development of Rego Park. It’s a ‘Real Good’ place to live that has lived up to its name.”

Perlman: Rediscovering local postal treasures

Exploring the mail chutes you’ve always wondered about

By Michael Perlman

[email protected]

An ornate Cutler mail chute at 42 W 48th St.

Most people have passed decorative brass, bronze or stainless-steel mail chute systems in the lobbies and floors of office buildings and some residential buildings, but sometimes they are not given much thought.

Mail chutes have an impressive history that dates to the 1880s and are prized for their diverse stylistic craftsmanship, with inscriptions of the manufacturer in distinctive typography.

Most predate the 1970s.

Mail chute with unusual medieval typography, 48 W 48th St.

As for younger generations, sometimes they scratch their heads.

Many mail chutes have been decommissioned and are now a conversation piece, but some remain in operation as a lobby letter box, or in fewer cases they remain in full operation throughout a building.

Mail chutes were an innovative work to ensure ease and rapidity, and it became an American success story in no time.

It all began in Rochester, NY, where it was invented by James Goold Cutler in 1883 and installed in the Elwood Building.

Art Deco Cutler mail chute in harmony with elevators, 71 W 47th St.

The patent indicated that the lobby mail chute needs to consist “of metal, distinctly marked US Letter Box” and the “door must open on hinges on one side, with the bottom of the door not less than 2’6’’ above the floor.”

Initially, mail chutes were largely installed in public buildings and railways, and the metal and glass shafts made their way throughout ceilings and floors.

James Goold Cutler, who was born in Albany in 1848 and passed away in Rochester in 1927, lived a diverse life.

He received his education at The Albany Academy and is remembered as a mail chute pioneer, an architect of prominent buildings, an entrepreneur and the 48th mayor of Rochester, where he served between 1904 and 1907.

In 1927, a bequest of $2,500,000 to the University of Rochester was made in his will, in addition to bequests including St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Rochester, hospitals, the Social Welfare League of Rochester, Hillside Home for Children and the YMCA and YWCA.

He was philanthropic in character.

A Council adopted a memorial which read, “Mr. Cutler was always a most interested observer of public affairs, and his kindly nature and keen insight into the needs of the citizens early attracted him to and fitted him for rendering marked public service.”

A Rochester report dated 1888 read, “In the present age of multi-storied buildings, no builder or owner of such an edifice has all the needful and convenient appliances until the Cutler US Mail Chute is in use therein — a device necessary for the businessman as the elevator.”

The skyscraper was being born, and mail chutes were a means of large-scale efficiency.

As of 1905, the Cutler Manufacturing Co. installed an estimated 1,600 mail chutes worldwide.

An excerpt from the 1909 edition of Hendrick’s Commercial Register stated, “Our business has grown with and has been an essential feature of the development of the tall building. From the Produce Exchange, seven stories, in 1885 to the Metropolitan Tower, forty-one stories, in 1908, all the important buildings, making steps in this advance, are built around Cutler Mail Chutes. Without the elevator, this growth would have been impossible, without the mail chute thousands of business men would have been too far from the Post Office.”

James Goold Cutler, Jan. 1, 1895.

In Forest Hills, a mail chute’s style reflects the architecture and period of the buildings, ranging from Art Deco to Mid-Century Modern.

Elsewhere, more elaborate styles include Beaux-Arts, Medieval, and Art Nouveau.

Eye-catching examples can still be found citywide in numerous destinations including the Diamond District, the Flatiron Building, Woolworth Building, the St. Regis, Empire State Building, Fred F. French Building and the Chrysler Building.

The Cutler Manufacturing Co. would team up with notable architects including Cass Gilbert, Daniel Burnham and Shreve, Lamb & Harmon.

Some significant Forest Hills apartment buildings that feature mail chutes throughout are The Leslie at 150 Greenway Terrace (1942), Booth Plaza at 67-76 Booth Street (1949), Park Crest Terrace at 101-06 67th Drive (1949), The Park Briar at 110-45 Queens Boulevard (1951), Birchwood Towers consisting of The Kyoto, The Toledo and The Bel Air on 66th Road to 67th Avenue between 102nd Street and Yellowstone Boulevard (1964), Lane Towers at 107-40 Queens Boulevard (1965) and Cord Meyer Office Building at 108-18 Queens Boulevard (1969).

Another site is a commercial-turned residential building, Lefrak Tower, renamed The Contour at 97-45 Queens Boulevard in Rego Park (1962).

In relation to Booth Plaza’s Capitol mail chute system, Gloria Piraino, a resident of the building, said, “I love those old mail chutes, and in our building, they still work.”

Capitol model at Booth Plaza. (Photo: Gloria Piraino)

Tammy Jacobi, board president of The Park Briar explained, “The ambiance of the hallway looks so special with the Art Deco Capitol mail chute, which meets the criteria of the Art Deco lobby. A lot of visitors have admired it.”

She pointed out that its bronze color receives treatment twice per year in conjunction with all other brass elements in the lobby.

Capitol mail chute at The Park Briar.

At The Leslie, the lobby’s Cutler mail chute depicts a rare Art Deco style eagle, but unfortunately its eyes and beak is covered with a sticker, although the etched detail is making its way through.

In addition, the fine quality surface is covered with layers of paint. Residents have expressed interest in seeing its detail restored.

It is rare to have a Cutler mail chute installed in Forest Hills, since residential buildings that were erected later on in the 1940s to the 1960s more frequently have a Capitol mail chute, although the prospect of having a mail chute is few and far between.

An original framed notification on the Cutler mail chute near the elevator along the floors is dated Dec. 23, 1937, predating The Leslie’s completion.

An excerpt reads, “U.S. Mail Cutler Mailing System – Mail letters one at a time. Do not fold or attempt to crowd large or bulky letters into the chute.”

For the collections category, it states “Collection schedule card posted on receiving box in ground floor.”

“Air mail may be deposited in this chute. For any specific information consult post office,” it continued.

Vandalism and theft was seemingly rare.

It says, “$1,000 fine or three years imprisonment is the penalty for defacing this box or the chute attached thereto, or tampering with lock or contents.” Residents were advised to “mail early.”

Despite the few manufacturers that followed, the Cutler Co. is regarded as the king of mail chutes.

Cutler mail chute in need of restoration at The Leslie. (Photo: Alan Tullio)

A 1955 Capitol Mail Chute Corporation catalog reads, “This corporation is part of an organization of skilled bronze manufacturers who have been doing distinctive aluminum and bronze metal work since its inception in 1905, and mail chutes since 1931.”

As decades passed, the size of mail increased, and mail chutes would increasingly become clogged.

Brass details would sometimes be obscured with paint rather than polished, and in other cases the systems were removed for profit rather than valuing historic artistry.

Perlman: On a Mission to Reintroduce Local Weeping Beech Trees

By Michael Perlman

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A rare Weeping Beech in front of the now demolished Parkside Chapel. (Photo: Michael Perlman)

Every community has at least one tree that is the talk of the town, although all varieties uniquely contribute to a larger audience of trees, and every resident has their favorites.

Since 1961, a rare, healthy and most graceful Weeping Beech tree has stood in front of Parkside Memorial Chapel at 98-60 Queens Boulevard in Rego Park.

As this American Institute of Architects-recognized mid-century modern chapel was demolished in January despite a movement to preserve a tributary site to the Sinai desert of Moses, the Israelites and the Ten Commandments, workers assured residents that the Weeping Beech tree would remain.

Then one day, they cringed to observe their favorite tree being chopped down.

Months have passed, and Rego Park resident Jennifer Verdon courageously launched a fundraiser to plant five new Weeping Beech trees throughout the community in its spirit, while restoring a native species that is a novelty.

The goal is to raise $10,000, since each tree accompanied by precise planting costs an average of $2,000.

“I live behind what was the beautiful landmark-worthy Parkside Memorial Chapel designed by the Viennese architect Henry Sandig and Robert Kasindorf, and bore witness to its destruction for overdevelopment, which was devastating. I went outside to speak to the crew weekly, and they assured me that this rare Weeping Beech tree would be safe,” she said.

“I watched for a couple of months as the tree was teetering on the edge of the demolition site, hoping for the best. One day I came home, looked out my window, and burst into tears when I realized it was gone. I felt so betrayed and upset, that I knew I had to do something.”

The once cherished Weeping Beech tree.

The Weeping Beech, known as “Fagus Sylvatica,” is characterized by its shape with sweeping, pendulous branches. The distinctive Pendula variety comes in mushroom and fountain forms. Green leaves become yellow-gold in the fall. Come winter, the fractal nature of its branches is a showstopper.

Whenever Verdon would pass by Parkside Chapel and the tree, she felt fortunate to see it daily.

“I loved the whole corner so much, and felt it was really rare and special. Now I need to take a trip over to Weeping Beech Park in Flushing to get my Weeping Beech fill. That tree was rooted there over 151 years ago,” Verdon said.

She began brainstorming about a variety of potential local sites, where they would be highly visible and planting conditions would be most suitable.

She said, “I need to speak with the Parks Department, arborists, dendrologists and horticulturists who know a lot about these types of trees to find the best accommodations. They need a lot of sun and can grow very large. I’d also love to take suggestions from our community, as they know the area best.”

Verdon is also calling for the preservation and stewardship of other trees.

“Trees improve the quality of water, soil, and air by removing pollutants, help with noise reduction, and lower the temperature,” she said.

“They also reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, which reduces erosion and pollution in our waterways, and may reduce the effects of flooding. They also provide food, protection and homes for many beautiful birds and animals.”

The movement to restore Weeping Beech trees to the local landscape is already gaining traction.

“It’s sad to see a nice tree, especially a rare Weeping Beech, being destroyed,” Forest Hills resident James Civita said. “They supposedly all came from the one in Flushing that had landmark status in Weeping Beech Park.”

A prominent horticulturist, Samuel Bowne Parsons (1819-1907) obtained a seedling from a nobleman’s estate in Belgium and transported and planted it on his nursery’s grounds.

This 60-foot high and 80-foot diameter tree gave birth to generations of Weeping Beeches nationally, and potentially the tree that was in front of Parkside Chapel.

“When I used to walk by that beautiful Weeping Beech tree of Rego Park, it made my heart sing, as it was an elegant lady,” Forest Hills resident Philomena Rubin said.

She envisions having the new Weeping Beech trees planted in MacDonald Park, Parker Towers and at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs.

“Having trees helps keep us shaded and gives the birds a home. They are lovely to look at especially since we live in a concrete jungle,” she continued.

Rubin was first to donate to the fundraiser, and encourages anyone who can to pitch in.

Rego Park resident Irene Schaub said, “I not only enjoyed the beautiful tree’s form for the two decades I lived here, but I literally would dash under it because of the cool shade it provided on that sunny stretch of Queens Boulevard. I am so saddened to see it go.”

She proposes the Horace Harding and Junction Boulevard vicinity for Weeping Beech trees, after learning about its development plans.

Additionally, she envisions any spot along Queens Boulevard that is overly sunny as a perfect candidate. “Considering climate change, there should literally be a law that includes greenery in every project built in our urban environment, as well as provisions made for the maintenance of trees,” she added.

Another fan is Emily Otalora of Forest Hills. She said, “There is a calming serenity Weeping Beech trees provide when the gentle breeze tickles their vine-like branches creating a natural soothing soundtrack. A peaceful rhythm washes over you, and for a brief moment blocks out the cacophony of the city noises, making you forget that you are not in the middle of the woods, but in New York City.”

Otalora is from the school of thought that if a tree is healthy, it should be preserved.

Referencing the larger picture, she explained, “As someone who has experienced two sewer backups in 15 years, and tedious rebuilding as a result of all our greenspace getting paved over with concrete, it saddens me to see plant life being considered an afterthought, when long-term green spaces do a lot for the community. Let’s also bring back native plant life, especially if it can survive the longhorn beetle.”

For Crystal Ann, who works in Forest Hills, she smiles if she passes a Weeping Beech tree. She said, “They’re very majestic. I love their fullness and their color. They have a very magical feel. I think Forest Hills Gardens would be a great place to plant these beautiful trees, along with Forest Park and Union Turnpike, where the big patches of grass are.”

She continued, “These trees, along with other trees, help fight global warming and produce oxygen and much needed shade and beauty to our neighborhood.”

The public can donate to Verdon’s fundraiser by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/f/weeping-beech-fundraiser-replace-demolished-trees or https://gofund.me/76df45dd.

Perlman: A Discovery Elicits Rego Park & Forest Hills Memories

While longtime Rego Park resident and history buff Carl Godlewski was helping his neighbors organize their family’s apartment, he unearthed a time capsule from 1955… a small yellow-gold address and phone book, where each page spotlighted among the best Rego Park businesses, and fewer Forest Hills businesses as of that year. It also featured 1955 and 1956 calendars. All businesses were located in tasteful storefronts, often Colonial or Art Deco, with attractive window displays.

Sometimes while cleaning out a residence, treasures can be found in an attic, basement, cabinet, or in this case, in a desk, hidden behind a drawer! It is important to consider not tossing possessions, but thinking of how it can benefit someone else or a community. He decided to donate his unique find to this columnist’s collection of local memorabilia, to further document and preserve cultural, commercial, and architectural history.

Godlewski explained, “I came across a lot of treasures dating from 1950s and 1960s Queens. It was amazing to see these snapshots in time, and learning about the stores that used to be in our area. It’s important to remember where Queens came from, and these keepsakes help with preserving our past.”

The booklet, published by Fox Advertising Co. at 166-05 Highland Avenue in Jamaica, read, “Welcome & best wishes. This phone index and directory was compiled with one thought in mind – Your convenience. You will find here a complete shopping guide to your immediate community. Listing the finest shops, services, churches and synagogues. Also a list of reputable business houses that are ready at all times to serve and assist you with the finest merchandise at most reasonable prices. Cultivate their friendship – It’s to your advantage.”

Field Drug, operated under Harry Berliner, Ph. G. was located at 94-04 63rd Drive, and offered a free pickup and delivery of prescriptions, if a resident would call IL 9-5326. In addition, this shop catered to baby needs, vitamins, and cosmetics, as well as a board of health station. Sperry & Hutchinson green stamps were free with each purchase.

Maisonette, whose slogan was “Hairstylists of Distinction” and featured an Art Deco logo, was once located at 96-39 Queens Boulevard. It was the end of an era when this longtime business closed around 2008.

There were a number of establishments for the arts, entertainment, and recreation. Among them was the Duo-Art Academy of Music and Dance at 107-50 Queens Boulevard, where patrons called BO 3-8585. This center offered training in all instruments, voice, and Dalcroze Eurhythmics for children 3 years and up, and a free loan of instruments up to 2 months. Dance courses included ballet, modern, tap, acrobatics, and teenage socials. As for the adult social dance scene, courses consisted of mambo, tango, merengue, foxtrot, and the waltz, with 10 one-hour class lessons for $10. On site was a large ballroom with a stage that could accommodate 235 guests, as well as a smaller social space for 45 guests. A catering service was offered. This center was ideal for meetings, dances, Bar Mitzvahs, and weddings, and discounts were offered to organizations on annual contracts.

For decades, one of the most popular dining and dancing entertainment venues was The Boulevard at 94-05 Queens Boulevard, formerly known as Boulevard Tavern. It opened circa 1929 and was in full swing through the 1960s. Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, and Sweet Sixteens were advertised as their specialty. Barbara Ann Vallely recalled, “My dad Howard Banks worked there for many years. They would have up and coming singers perform. I remember him bringing home signed photos of Connie Francis and Tony Bennett. It was more than a restaurant, but a nightclub that also catered weddings, including Martin Landau’s wedding reception in 1957.” Other performers were Patti Page and Buddy Hackett. “My parents, Jack and Eunice Selenow, had their 25th anniversary in 1960 at The Boulevard,” said Victor Selenow. “JFK did a swing through Queens during his 1960 presidential campaign, and made a speech at The Boulevard,” added Monte Kaplan.

“We always went to Shelly’s for the rye bread and sponge and marble cakes,” said Jeffrey Cymbler, who was a patron with his family in the 1960s. This was considered Rego Park’s finest bakery at 94-06 63rd Drive. “Everything in the baking line” was their slogan. Residents can still sense the taste of their classic Charlotte Russe.

Into the 1990s was Barbizon Studio, a go-to spot at 101-01 Queens Boulevard that is much missed. An engaging slogan read, “Our beautiful photographs and satisfied customers are our best advertisement.” Their specialty was children’s portraits, and other services included 3D, weddings, adults, restorations, photo supplies, custom finishing, and photostats. Patrons would walk along a wooden floor, spot a collage of frames lining their walls, and be greeted by amiable owners.

Another very engaging name is Talent Shop at 92-04 63rd Drive. An ad read, “Ladies! The smartest…. most glamorous fashions on the Island are located right in your own neighborhood.” Everyone felt like a star!

A perfect dating and family fun establishment was Rego Park Lanes at 96-42 Queens Boulevard, when bowling alleys were cornerstones of Americana. It also offered a restaurant and lounge, famous for Italian and American dishes. Visualize a 70-foot bar with television, a novelty in the 1950s, and most of all, 16 streamlined bowling alleys. Owners and staff often became an extended family for patrons, so today’s longtime residents may recall host Leon Fox and manager Bill Beck.

Another cornerstone of Americana was the classic Jewish deli, which today is few and far between. At 94-19 63rd Drive was Dav-Eds, the “Celebrity Delicatessen and Restaurant,” which offered kosher catering and hot and cold canapes, a specialty, luncheons and dinners, as well as home-cooked food to take out. Nearby was a kosher meat and poultry market known as Koslow’s at 97-22 Queens Boulevard. It was indeed “Where quality reigns supreme” and efficiency was key with a free delivery service by calling either TWining 7-0543 or 0544. Afterall, their slogan was “You ring – We bring.”

A needle, thread, and button became the basis of the name Goldin’s, an intelligent logo. Situated at 97-02 Queens Boulevard, it was advertised as “The home of the educated needle” and “Queens finest men’s store. Brands included G.G.G., Eagle, Austin Leeds, Hammonton Park, Worsted-Tex, Alligator, Forstmann, McGregor, Mark Cross, and Dobbs Hats. Patrons could view a distinctive collection of furnishings and sportswear and visit a style corner for men. Hours of operation were 10 AM to 10 PM. Similar in spirit was the Knitting Studio at 63-55 Booth Street, which offered free expert instructions and individual styling, with a complete selection of quality yarn.

A buzz around town was Philip Birnbaum’s award-winning mid-century modern Metropolitan Industrial Bank Building, which earned a 1st prize architectural award by the Queens Chamber of Commerce in 1952. Its anchor tenant was its namesake at 99-01 Queens Boulevard, which in 1955, was Commercial State Bank & Trust Company of New York, which operated 9 offices. Among the several mom and pop shops on the same block was Margo Chapeaux at 99-03, an exclusive millinery at moderate prices, with individually styled hats made to order.

“Where carpentry is still an art” was the slogan of Wohl Brothers at 92-10 63rd Drive. They specialized in cabinets, carpenters, contractors, unpainted furniture, formica, fixtures, painting, and staining. To continue your decorating needs, Kass Seigal at 97-09 Queens Boulevard was a unique service for the traditional, modern, or contemporary setting, and merchandise included fine furniture, draperies, and accessories.

Simple pleasures begin at childhood with pets and biking around town. At 98-08 Queens Boulevard, Queensway Aquarium & Pet Shop sold tropical and goldfish, exotic plants, and dog and cat supplies, as well as birds including canaries and parakeets. The popular Bill’s Bicycle Store at 63-52 Alderton Street offered new and refurbished bicycles, including Raleigh, Rudge, and Schwinn, as well as accessories and bikes for rent.

Sometimes shops take their names from their surroundings such as Walden Terrace. At 97-09 64th Avenue, Walden Food Center offered appetizing, dairy, and groceries under Marvin Uleis, proprietor. Joseph Miller managed the kosher M. & S. Meat & Poultry, and Sam Baclanic managed the fruits and vegetables.

Cleaning could not be beat! Leeds Cleaners offered same day service at 91-42 63rd Drive under Allen Dresser and Elliott Gitlin, and another popular shop was Jade Chinese Hand Laundry at 97-05 Queens Boulevard.

For every occasion, The Flower Basket at 96-08 Queens Boulevard was ready to serve the community. This exclusive shop was also located in the lobby of 535 5th Avenue and at the Chanin Building. An ad stated, “We deliver and telegraph everywhere.”

Another E-Scooter Crash

Queens Boulevard is known for being a notoriously dangerous roadway. Thanks to the sudden increase of micro-mobility scooters and e-bikes, and the integrated bike lanes, it seems like this already dangerous thoroughfare is becoming more dangerous than ever.

Meanwhile, this trend of scooter and e-bike riders getting hit by cars continues to grow. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 190,000 emergency room visits caused by micromobility products between 2017 and 2020, representing a 70 percent increase in overall accidents.

Last Wednesday, another scooter driver was hit on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park around 9:30 a.m. Officers from the 112th police Precinct responded to a 9-1-1 call of a motor vehicle collison near the Capital One Bank located at 95-25 Queens Blvd.

Their investigation determined that a 61-year-old woman driving a 2013 Chevrolet traveling on 62nd Drive, made the turn onto Queens Boulevard, where she collided with a 51-year-old woman operating a scooter on the service road.

EMS promptly transported the 51-year-old woman to the nearby Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Northwell Health hospital in stable condition.

It is unclear who was at fault in this accident, or if the scooter was operated in accordance with city guidelines.

Some local elected officials, including New York City Councilman Robert Holden, who represents District 30, feel that these motorized scooters and bikes pose a threat to all who encounter them.

In his district last week, a grandmother and a toddler being pushed in a stroller were hit by an e-biker who ran a light. Although no one was seriously hurt, he does not take this incident lightly.

“People are getting killed, and these things are causing accidents,” Holden said. “It’s becoming like a third world country, because anything goes in the streets of New York.”

“My goal is to get rid of these illegal scooters,” he continued. “The cops have to cooperate and confiscate them.”

Local students win Congressional art contest

Congresswoman Grace Meng recently announced this year’s winners of the annual Congressional District Art contest.

The competition consisted of entries from high school students in Queens, and is part of “An Artistic Discovery,” the national art contest held annually by the House of Representatives.

The contest displays the artwork of all Congressional District Art contest winners from across the nation.

Natalie Niselson, a freshman at Bayside High School, was selected as the winner of the Meng’s contest, for her original artwork, entitled “Brainwashed.”

Meng said that her winning piece, along with the winning artwork from Congressional Districts’ contests throughout the U.S., will be displayed for a year in the halls of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Meng announced Niselson as the winner during a reception she recently hosted for students and their families.
The reception was held at the Elmhurst branch of the Queens Public Library in its second floor reading room, where all the submitted artwork was on display during the event.

Other finalists in the contest were recognized at the reception, including second place winner Angela Lin, a 10th grader from Rego Park for her artwork, “Returning to Normalcy,” and third place winner Siya Gupta, an 11th grader from Rego Park for her artwork, “New York Under the Light.”

Their artwork will be displayed for one year in Meng’s Flushing office.

“Each year, I love seeing such beautiful, creative, and inspiring work that our young artists create, and this year was no exception. I look forward to Natalie’s winning piece representing our congressional district in Washington, D.C. and I am proud to highlight her exceptional talent,” Meng said. “I also thank Elmhurst Library for providing a wonderful space for the reception and exhibition. As we continue to move past the COVID-19 pandemic, I am glad that we can continue to hold this competition, and spotlight the tremendous creativity of our young people.”

All students who entered were presented with certificates of Congressional recognition.

The contests’ entries included different styles of paintings, collages, drawings, and prints. The finalists were decided by a panel at Flushing Town Hall.

The Artistic Discovery contest was launched in 1982 for members of Congress to highlight the artistic work of high school students from around the nation.

Since it began, more than 650,000 high school students from throughout the United States have participated in the competition.

New Plaque Program To Commemorate Local Historic Buildings

By Michael Perlman

[email protected]

Sutton Hall, 109-14 Ascan Avenue.

At a time when historic buildings are being demolished or insensitively altered, a new bronze plaque program has been born in Forest Hills and Rego Park. Founded by Rego-Forest Preservation Council, this program will spotlight architecturally and culturally significant buildings by explaining their history and distinctive architecture on a plaque that will be installed on their façade.

Architectural features will be sampled and serve as a border or motif on a plaque to further celebrate its history, and vintage photos of the architect and the buildings will also be included. In some cases, buildings that lost their historic names will once again be appreciated. It is a belief that once property owners and residents are aware of a site’s unique characteristics and history, properties will be well-maintained and preserved.

Forest Hills was named in 1906 by Cord Meyer Development Company, whereas Rego Park became official in 1923 by the Real Good Construction Company. Early to mid-20th century buildings granted a personalized experience for residents, newcomers, and visitors, with unique craftsmanship pertaining to styles that ranged from Tudor and Colonial to Art Deco. Stately apartment buildings, religious sites, theaters, and commercial sites were designed by architects who were often raised in Europe, and they were built to last.

Now Academy Engraving is partnering with Rego-Forest Preservation Council to produce a trail of bronze plaques. The firm designs the Broadway League’s Tony Award for the past 29 years, in addition to numerous signs and plaques throughout New York City from memorial tablets to NYC park name plaques. Notable clients include Baccarat, Lalique, Rolex, and Bulgari. “We are proud to be a sign, awards, and custom engraving vendor based in Manhattan,” said founder and president Frank DiBella.

He explained, “I feel it is extremely important to add a marker or plaque that explains the architectural significance and history of historic buildings. It definitely helps to stress the importance of preservation with the property owner and neighbors.”

Since DiBella’s youth in Gravesend, Brooklyn, he has admired and respected historic homes and buildings. He said, “It was always exciting to discover a home built in the late 1700s and realize how many families came and went, and that home was still there after all that time. My favorite was Lady Moody’s home at 27 Gravesend Neck Road, which was famous in the neighborhood. My friends and I were proud it was in our own backyard. We also had the Wyckoff Bennett Homestead, a very interesting place built before the Revolutionary War.”

Some buildings began expressing interest in the new plaque program. Dorothy Schreiber is board president of Hawthorne Court at 72-34 Austin Street, a Georgian Colonial residence to 59 families since 1931. It was erected by Cord Meyer Development Company and features a court entranceway, a large decorative balcony, and dentil cornices, but the ornamental shutters are long-gone. She explained, “Just as important as our personal and family histories are, is our surrounding physical history. Familiarity with images from our past binds us and brings continuity to our lives. Memories unite us with those we lost and help ground us in the present.”

Hawthorne Court circa 1940, Tax photo courtesy of Municipal Archives.

Schreiber holds good expectations for the plaque program. “It will help illuminate the historical presence of certain buildings and hopefully induce building owners to maintain and restore the unique village-like ambiance of our area, since presently Austin Street looks more like a shopping mall than a quaint village. A plaque will bring something special to our building.”

Kenney Vairo manages the 6-story Forest Hills Towers at 71-50 Austin Street and its sister building, the 4-story Edna Jean at 71-58 Austin Street, which were completed in 1928 in the Tudor Medieval style. At “The Towers,” 1 to 5 rooms could be rented from $40 to $100 and was advertised as having good-sized light rooms and being a half block to Station Square and convenient to shopping. It is distinguished by battlements, a slate pitched roof, and brickwork. An anticipated attraction by prospective tenants was a direct stairway leading from the building to the LIRR station.

The Edna Jean & Forest Hills Towers, 2008 photo by Michael Perlman

“My grandfather, Edward P Kenney, developed the buildings on Austin Street,” said Vairo, who takes pride in his family history in Forest Hills. His mother, whose maiden name was Edna Jean Kenney, always went by Jean, which is how one of the two residences was named.

He said, “My grandfather was a real estate developer and a pharmacist. He also owned three stores down the street where Chipotle is located. He owned a well-known bar and restaurant called Kenney’s. When he retired, my mother took over the real estate part at 23. She attended PS 101, the Kew-Forest School, and Maryland College for Women. She was a philanthropist and always cared about people. She was also an arborist.” Later in life, she lived in Florida and passed away in 2006. Earlier this fall, his brother Peter Vairo, who was the landlord and a much-admired friend to many community residents, also passed away.

Coming home to Sutton Hall at 109-14 Ascan Avenue offers a grand and charming experience. Built in 1929 to 1931 by El-Walt Realty Corp, it is a foremost example of urban planning with English Manor design, evident by Medieval wood doors with stained glass bearing knights and shields, a cupola, a slate pitched roof, a half-timber and brick facade, battlements, and inner and outer landscaped courts and recessed facades to maximize light, air, and neighborliness. It was called “a revelation in modern living” in a 1932 edition of The New York Sun. It was designed by Benjamin Braunstein, a Constantinople native and award-winning architect, who was trained at the Hebrew Technical Institute and at the Beaux Arts Society. He also designed several nearby buildings including Valeria Arms, The Chatham, Marion Court, Remo Hall, Jupiter Court, the Holland House, Tilden Arms, and The Wakefield.

Sutton Hall, Photo by Michael Perlman

“It is very important and delightful to preserve the history of our beautiful community, and hopefully newcomers will pass it down to the next group of newcomers,” said Leslie Lowry, an over 40-year resident. “The plaques will show how proud and meaningful our homes are to us. When I enter my lobby, it makes me feel like I am entering an old castle, and my guests are always impressed. My apartment has very large and beautiful rooms with many archways, and several walls are stucco, which is very charming.”

To acquire a plaque in honor of your building, contact [email protected]

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