Neighborhood at risk: Broadway-Flushing

33-81 161st Street, Block 5246, Lot 1

Like many areas of Queens, what is now Broadway-Flushing was rural until the 20th century. A recent addition to the City of New York, Queens then became a series of small bedroom communities, located along rail-lines for easy commuting to Manhattan. Of these neighborhoods, some of the best quality (and most desirable) were those developed in northeast Queens by the Rickert-Finlay Realty Company, like Douglas Manor (a New York City historic district) and Broadway-Flushing. Such developments became role models for suburban communities throughout the nation.

 

160-06 35th Avenue, Block 5280, Lot 49

 

 

In 1906 Rickert-Finlay Realty Company began that development that they advertised as having “City Conveniences, Country Benefits.” Restrictive deeds ensured this feeling. They created minimum lot size and set backs, required peaked roofs and banned fences. The more than 1,300 buildings in the proposed 74-block Broadway-Flushing historic district possess a wide variety of architectural styles including Colonial Revival, Arts & Crafts and Tudor Revival. These homes illustrate the American post-Victorian desire for a “comfortable” home, one that was thought to be more open, informal and healthful than those of the previous century. They are united in their adherence to the overall plan of the suburb, which emphasized wide avenues, exceptional landscaping and gracious yards. As mentioned before, that the landscaping survives is due to the deed restrictions - that the architecture of the single family homes has survived as intact as it is, is due in no small part to the care and vigilance of the neighborhood association. 160th Street Block, Lot 1

Thanks to the strength and concern of stewards such as the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association, the neighborhood remains a standout jewel amidst Queens County’s varied and diverse communities. What makes a place special can endanger it, though. The area’s large lots of are fertile ground for McMansions and other out of character development. Placed on the National and State Registers in the last year, Broadway-Flushing would be a valuable addition to New York City’'s list of designated historic districts.

 

For more information contact Paul Graziano, paulgrazianohdc@yahoo.com

 

 

 Broadway-Flushing National Register Map

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