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 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.
The first Borough’s Outstanding Award was presented in 1953 to the Bulova Watch complex. This monumental building uses a severely classical design, evoking many European and American classical municipal structures from the 1930s. Alexander Crossett was not a prominent architect of the period so it is unclear why he was offered such a major commission. Most of his other buildings in the city were small utilitarian industrial buildings. However Aymar Embery III, Robert Moses’ chief architect and designer of many of the Depression-era pool and recreational complexes across the city was the consulting architect here, which could explain the strong 1930s classical evocation. The design was inspired by the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, DC.
St. John’s Chapel at St. John’s Cemetery is a modern take on a gothic structure. The small, 160-seat chapel is immediately adjacent to the cemetery’s administration building inside the main Victorian-era entrance gates at 80th Street and Metropolitan Avenue. The building is clad in granite and limestone and features several limestone carvings above the front entrance as well as on a tower at the rear of the building. The interior includes modern figurative stained glass and wood interior detailing including decorative painted details on the ceiling trusses. The metal steeple on the small tower adjacent to the main structure is of a more modern design seen on buildings of this era.
This one-story shopping center curves along Kissena Boulevard and originally featured glass storefronts with an enormous 800 car parking lot in the rear, highlighting the increasing focus on the automobile in mid-century design. Many of the original features of the shopping center have vanished including a tall 66-foot vertical tower and several of the street-side windows have been bricked in to reorient the shopping toward the parking lot. An original mosaic cornucopia still decorates the facade on the street and the original brick facade and limestone detailing is also visible.