Here A. F. Meissner expanded on his previous Richmond Hill branch, designing a larger, slightly curved facility at a prominent but difficult intersection. Like the earlier branch, the building uses stone veneer, limestone trim, concrete, brick, and other material to denote a new, modern building. The branch is relatively unchanged since its construction including interior wood panelling, glass and metal details, and the original wood frame addition specified by the architect on the plans.
This is the first of four awards that Leo. F. Kearns would win for their facilities. A. F. Meissner was primarily a church architect and the Kearns family new him from local Catholic circles. But here he did something completely different with a Frank Lloyd-esque one story structure using a variety of materials to create a design unlike anything else in Queens or even NYC. The apocryphal story is that one of the Kearns brothers suggested this basic design to him when an earlier three-story Colonial Revival design was too cost prohibitive. Meisser’s design for the second Kearns branch also followed this lead. The Richmond Hill branch won a second award in 1964 for an alteration by Raymond Irrera to add an elevator enclosure. The addition is almost completely indistinguishable from the original structure. Today the Kearns family still own the building and use it for their popular funeral business.
Currently being replaced by a large new school, the three story brick administrative building originally housed 1,000 employees. The design was typical of the 50s and included exterior facing of red brick with limestone trim, and aluminum windows. Countless schools, libraries, and other public buildings incorporated the exact same elements. The architects Voorhees Walker Foley & Smith were the exclusive architects for NY Telephone, adapting whatever style of the era to suit the needs of the massive company.
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.
Black and Decker is long gone but this simple one-story building today exists as Parrillada Restaurant. Everything but the basic shape and the corner window bay has been altered.