Another somewhat interchangeable brick apartment tower, the L-shaped Park Briar is slightly discernible for its angled orientation and central entrance set back behind a small landscaped entrance plaza. The original glass fronted balconies have been replaced by white metal.
The basic shape of this curved corner commercial site is still visible although otherwise largely altered. The original design attempted to be classic yet contemporary by being both low-scale with numerous windows and use of elegant materials such as limestone, white marble, stainless steel, and granite. There were also originally numerous neon signs advertising the commercial establishments located here, although not referenced in the award program. Today the building is a bank and over the entrance in the recessed curve is a large mural of the sites of Forest Hills, a fitting addition to a commercial building built and owned by the company that developed much of the surrounding neighborhood.
The Schine Inn was part of the major Schine empire of theaters and hotels across the country, only of a few of which were named Schine Inns, most notably in Massena, NY and Chicopee, MA. In 1966, just five years after the Forest Hills location opened, the chain changed hands and it is unclear if this location lasted beyond then. Today it is a senior living facility and remains recognizable architecturally despite the loss of an undulating entrance awning. The brick-faced buildings also include stone veneer details and enamel panels. The architects were local and known for large brick apartment towers, so the design here is much less striking than some of the other Schine branches.
The architecture of this apartment building speaks much more to architect Jack Brown rather than his co-designer Jerome Perlstein. Whereas Brown, the LeFrak’s in-house architect, was largely responsible for large commercial and residential towers in brick or metal, Perlstein’s designs tended toward showy facade materials such as stone veneer, decorative screens, and enamel panels. The site here is a steep slope so that the front includes private concrete slab balconies whereas the back includes a communal patio space overlooking an athletic field below.
Sometimes building campaigns fall short or parish needs change. St. Mel’s Auditorium was built for the neighboring St. Mel’s School as a 900-seat gathering space over a 400-seat basement cafeteria. Today St. Mel’s Auditorium is St. Mel’s Church and the auditorium serves as the main sanctuary, complete with contemporary stained glass. A metallic steeple has been added on top of the flat roof of the auditorium.