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.
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.
This building shows the continued move toward the minimalism of the 1970s with its largely unadorned facade of brick with plain window treatments and bold geometry of the sloped roofs above the entrance housing skylights for the interior spaces below. It was originally built as an Jewish Orthodox high school. However by 1981 the school had closed and today it is home to the Beth Gavriel Center, a Bucharian Jewish congregation.
The Tymon Building is a fun, quirky survivor. A multipurpose commercial building that would look right at home in Los Angeles, this one resides instead on Woodhaven Boulevard. The building features a wide variety of exterior finishes, from circular metal grillwork on the corner stairtower to blue enamel panels and from a glass wall exposing the staircase on the side elevation to stone finishes along the ground floor. This design best showcases architect Jerome Perlstein’s interest in exterior finishes.