The building is one in a series of apartment houses by Birnbaum named for past presidents. Here the white painted ironwork gives this nine-story building a graceful, patrician air. Similar to many other buildings in this part of Forest Hills, the Woodrow Wilson is clad in red Colonial brick and many apartments have large cantilevered balconies. There is also a large two-story parking garage, an amenity that became de rigueur in 1950s apartment living.
A true standout among the award winners, this design is as striking as when it was originally unveiled. The corner bank gleams with an exterior of stainless steel and granite. Floor to ceiling windows illuminate the three-story height space. Patrons enter through a curved corner entrance up a short flight of stairs. The interior the original mosaic floors and teakwood walls although the mural featuring Forest Hills has been lost. The bank is surprisingly unlike most of architect Philip Birnbaum’s other designs; he was primarily known for his large apartment building towers in brick.
Today this shopping center looks quaint and a little ragged, but when it opened, shopping strips like this were considered novel by orienting the entire site toward parking. The building is L-shaped with the anchor supermarket in the central corner. Portions of the flat canopy over the pedestrian sidewalk still remain and the painted brick facade is still visible. Originally a wooden post and rail fence surrounded the parking lot.
Thypin Steel is still in business within this massive structure, its signage on the roof visible from the nearby elevated highway. The building is a massive open interior space for handling steel. In one corner, offices and other smaller spaces are built within the larger shape.
There were two Jewish Centers honored in 1949 (the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills being the other). Here, a more restrained modernism was employed with a slightly convex front facade faced in a warm stone block and featuring a center, three-door entrance topped by tall stained glass windows. There is very little overt detailing, only with small Jewish symbols and phrases carved above the entrance doors. The principal side elevation also features the same stone and a long bay of stained glass windows framed in concrete. At the rear of the site is a five-story school building. This structure is clad in yellow brick that harmonizes well with the stone of the Jewish Center, a cantilevered entrance canopy, and International style casement windows.