St. Gertrude’s auditorium is one of architect John O’Malley’s lesser works. The building is a large rectangular auditorium with a separate entrance connected to the rear of the existing, older St. Gertrude’s Roman Catholic Church. Today the building is closed and decaying on a stretch of the Rockaways filled with new construction but also numerous empty lots.
The Otis Elevator Company stands semi-derelict on a somewhat forlorn block of Jamaica with empty lots on either side. The building remains intact with its brick and limestone facade and the aluminum windows are now behind metal mesh screens. The metal Otis Elevator signage is now gone and the entrance area is surrounded by a blue wooden partition. The awards program states that the building is 90 x 99 feet and uses the Larson system of continuous membrane waterproofing.
This rehabilitation was truly unusual, consisting of altering the former Loews Woodside Theatre into a new Roman Catholic church. The building sits on Roosevelt Avenue facing the elevated train line with a prominent entrance courtyard, containing the original Chamber of Commerce building plaque. The facade is now definitively Northern Italian, but the side of the building with the staircase alludes to its former role as a theater. The interior space contains no columns so that the room appears even larger than its 1,500 person capacity.
The American Hospital Supply Corporation building presents an intriguing public face. The facade of the building gives the impression of a modern take on a Gothic Revival gatehouse with a metal gated entrance portico above of which is placed a prominent bow window. The roofline of the central section ends in a peaked roof and the whole section is faced in concrete made to look like stone. Extending from the entrance are two wings covered in a patterned brick face above a stone veneer.
The Leslie Apartments are an unusual Queens Modern award winner, a large apartment complex that brings together modern fire safety and conveniences with the strict old world design of the private community of Forest Hills Gardens. The building occupies a large triangular plot located not far from the main entrance to the Gardens and was the last building to be constructed, rising on the site of the Russell Sage Foundation’s sales office. The foundation was responsible for the development of this garden city style community. The Leslie itself is surrounded by a decorative wall and entered through arched brickwork or through the underground parking garage beneath the building. The building seems to have received its award partially for its novel approach to fire access which eliminated fire escapes while still providing two means of egress from each apartment. Today the high style historicist Leslie Apartments speak to an interesting marriage of modern convenience with historical design.