This interesting take on a local bank branch is now gone. Originally the design incorporated some traditional elements of Spanish architecture most notable a massive entry arch in concrete. Other interior features such as dark stained wood and specifically designed furniture were part of the overall scheme. Already by 1970, this part of Corona was notably Hispanic and is largely majority Spanish-speaking today. However, the local population now uses a Chase Bank branch interchangeable with other Chase branches across the city.
The backstory of this set of rather modest, apartment-style, attached residences comes courtesy of Leo Fakler, a partner in the firm which designed the project, Fakler & Horowitz. The partners met in the offices of the Lefrak Organization’s go-to architect, Jack Brown, and worked on several major projects, including the award-winning Lefrak City. They set out on their own in 1961, partnering together until the late 1960s. Give the date of this structure, this would have been one of their last projects completed together. As Mr. Fakler states, developers were very busy in 1968 rushing to complete projects before the major NYC zoning changes took place and the speculative Jardan Residences was one of many projects the firm was involved with at the time. The developer was Howard Miller, who had also worked for Jack Brown, until he set out on his own. The residences are of brown brick and have a series of exterior balconies and staircases, providing access and privacy. The base of the building is a series of rounded arches with parking available in front.
As noted in the original awards program, the Corona Library is a simple steel frame with the roof deck laid over bar joists. Most of what can be seen today on the exterior is part of an extensive renovation and upgrade by Gruzen Samton (also a firm which has received Queens Chamber awards). There is a minimal brick and metal facade covering and originally the entrance was recessed, but has since been filled in with a contemporary glass storefront. Gruzen Samton’s project also address modern needs such as ADA compliance and adding much-needed space with a light-filled reading room at the rear.
St. Leo’s Rectory is more traditional than most of the O’Malley firm’s other work. The building is a long rectangle of buff brick topped by a streamlined mansard roof, originally complete with shingles.The dark shingles have now been replaced by light colored aluminum siding and the green shutters original to the ground floor have been replaced with red shutters on both the upper and lower floors. The building does its job in fitting in well with the heterogeneous residential architecture of this part of Corona.
The Queens Zoo restaurant building, a circular pavilion of reinforced concrete and floor-to-ceiling glass, is still in daily use. In addition to the central structure, there is an adjacent brick service wing and curvilinear walls extending out next to it. The entire complex sits at the top of descending levels of terraces with trees, seating, and paved surfaces.