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Bayside pockets its fourth landmarked structure

By Juan Soto

Bayside has scored big, again. The neighborhood just got its fourth landmarked property.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously Nov. 25 to designate the Tudor-style Hawthorne Court Apartments, a rental complex at the corner of 216th Street and 43rd Avenue, as a city landmark. The landmarking will not be official until the City Council approves it.

“This charming and ornate complex is a fine example of the Tudor Revival style,” said Meenakshi Srinivasan, chairwoman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The residence “provides a critical narrative of Bayside’s transformation to a commuter suburb after the completion of the railroad tunnel to Manhattan in 1910.”

Landmarked in Bayside are also the Lawrence Cemetery, located right behind the Hawthorne Complex at 42nd Avenue; the Fort Totten Historical District, home to the Bayside Historical Society; and the Stone House, at 35-34 Bell Boulevard.

The city agency pointed out the Hawthorne Court Apartments, built between 1930 and 1931, exemplified the low-rise suburban garden housing complexes from the 1920 and 1930s, “which contained substantial green space and incorporated ideas from the British garden city movement and the New York City modern tenement movement.”

Middle-class housing Architect Benjamin Braunstein designed the units of different size around a courtyard “with meandering paths and set back from the streets.”

It had been a long fight. For years, the Bayside Historical Society worked toward the landmark designation with the collaboration of Community Board 11, elected officials, civic groups and other organizations.

“We are very happy,” said Paul DiBenedetto, president of the Bayside Historical Society. “This is a very classy place.”

City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) supported the efforts that led to the Landmarks Preservation Commission decision.

“I believe this location is a prime example of the historic, award-winning Tudor design and high-quality development that [Landmarks] must protect,” Vallone said. “The Hawthorne Court Apartments have withstood the test of time and most importantly, they are iconic of the character of the surrounding neighborhood.”

State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) also promoted the Hawthorne Complex, which has about 20 apartments. “I am pleased that (Landmarks) voted unanimously in favor of landmarking the Hawthorne Court Apartments, whose neo-Tudor style design has remained a unique contribution to the Bayside community since 1930,” he said.

The lawmaker congratulated the Bayside Historical Society for “its successful efforts over the last several years to achieve this victory.”

In 1931, the Queens Chamber of Commerce awarded the ornate complex unit with a price for “excellence in design and civic value.”

Michael Feiner, president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association, said “this is a result of lengthy discussions and efforts by people concerned with maintaining our beautiful neighborhood to its very high standards.”

He added, “This is a success story for all of the utmost level when it comes to local civic concerns.”

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto‌@cngl‌ocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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