Simeon Heller was an architect most often associated with Queens where he was born in 1907, lived, and located his office until his death at the age of 62 in 1969 [1]. He studied architecture at New York University, graduating in 1933. He founded his architectural practice in 1936 and a longstanding partnership with architect George Meltzer in 1955 [2].

During his career he was most identified with the New York Society of Architects, where he served as president and secretary. He also served as president of the New York State Association of Architects, president of the Queens Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, president of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, and as chair of Central Queens Savings & Loan Association [3]. Additionally, he was one of the individuals responsible for the creation of the Queens Botanical Gardens, where he served on the board. For his contributions he was nominated as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, but died suddenly of a heart attack before the vote took place [4].

His long affiliation with the Queens Chamber of Commerce included serving on the board beginning in 1950, serving as chair of its transportation committee, and as chair of the Chamber’s Building Awards program from 1948 to 1952. Arguably he reinvigorated the awards program after it had been postponed in 1942 due to World War II. A broad swath of Queens-based architects ended up serving on the jury and embraced the modest, yet innovative modern design in the borough through the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. He was frequently featured in articles about the Chamber’s position on transit issues or explaining a position in the architectural community, such as an article defending additional spending on new school design and construction.

Complicating his legacy is the fact that Heller received 12 building awards from the Chamber, the highest number of commendations of any architect during the time he was affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce. The majority of these projects have been demolished or significantly altered, complicating any evaluation of his career. Remaining examples include the Jackson Heights Branch Library from 1954 and Little Neck Jewish Center from 1955. He also received an award from the Long Island Association of Commerce for his late career, moderne-style U.S. Post Office in Port Washington, N.Y. [5]

His architectural style ran the gamut from revival styles to stripped down utilitarian design, but he definitely embraced modernism. An article in the Long Island Star-Journal in 1961 quotes Heller’s take on modern design. “No longer are [architects] merely trying to sheathe space and conceal supporting structures. Radically new ideas reflect man’s dream of the stars. New buildings reach into space and breathe life.” [6]. Although some of his remaining designs seem clunky or quaint, there are some highlights, including the simple ranch style home he designed for his family in Flushing and the Nicholas Salgo residence on Long Island, a series of one story volumes along the bay of Port Washington.

Selected Projects

Edgemont Hills Homes, Yonkers NY, 1935

United Jewish Center of Bayside, Bayside NY, 1937

Fair Hills Homes, Forest Hills NY, 1940

Kew Gardens General Hospital alteration, Kew Gardens, 1941

Redfern Houses, Arverne NY, 1948-1954

Dr. Samuel B. Feldman Office, Flushing NY, 1948

Leroy Adams Residence, Flushing NY, 1950

Grace Harbor Estates, Great Neck NY, 1951

Internal Revenue Building, Flushing NY, 1951

Lido Gardens, Long Beach NY, 1952

Nicholas Salgo Residence, Port Washington NY, 1953

ATV Film Production Studios, Long Island City NY, 1954

Jackson Heights Library, Jackson Heights NY, 1954

Simeon Heller Residence, Flushing NY, 1954

Little Neck Jewish Center, Little Neck NY, 1955

Dr. Ben Stein Residence, Beechhurst NY, 1955

Flushing Medical Building, Flushing NY, 1956

Flushing Jewish Center Addition, Flushing NY, 1956

Woodbourne Correctional Institute, Woodbourne NY, 1958

CYO Cresthaven Clubhouse, Whitestone NY, 1958

Municipal Parking Garage and Bus Depot, Flushing NY, 1959

Catholic Youth Organization Portside Wing, Whitestone NY, 1959

American Red Cross Building renovation, Jamaica NY, 1960

Eutectic Welding Alloys Corporation, Flushing NY, 1961

John Hansen and Son Building, Jamaica NY, 1961

West Brighton Plaza Houses, Staten Island NY, 1962

Queens County Federal Savings & Loan Association, Jamaica NY, 1963

U.S. Post Office, Port Washington NY, 1965

Reliance Federal Savings and Loan Association, Flushing NY, 1968


  1. “Simeon Heller, An Architect 62.” The New York Times. 25 October 1969.
  2. Heller, Simeon. American Architects Directory, Second Edition. R.R. Bowker LLC. 1962. Web.
  3. Ibid.
  4. American Institute of Architects nomination for fellowship, undated (1969), AIA Historical Directory.
  5. Ibid.
  6. “Designing Man: Architect Favors Simplicity of Line.” Long Island Star Journal. 16 November 1961.

Queens Modern: The Architects

Queens Modern: The Architects