Morris Dweck, owner of Deals & Discounts, released renderings of the alterations his architect, Walter Martin, will make that ensure the terra cotta of a decades-old building will not be destroyed. After residents saw scaffolding at the store located at 36-11 Broadway, they reached out to the owner to explain to him the history of the building.
According to Bob Singleton, the executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society (GAHS), the building was occupied by a Childs Restaurant, a chain that revolutionized the restaurant industry with its focus on cleanliness and food safety.
Singleton wrote to the Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) when he found out about the planned alterations and asked them to look at the building for possible landmark status. He also created a petition.
The restaurant was opened in 1928 and the terra cotta depicts nautical scenes like Neptune, the god of the sea, seahorses and other fish. Deals & Discounts purchased the building next to it, a former Rite Aid that kept the terra cotta, and wanted to extend its blue exterior to create a more uniform look. But now, the facade will consist of limestone.
“As you will see, all the architectural detail is being preserved,” Dweck said in an email. “Additionally, I am proud to announce that we will be installing same limestone above the current DII Store at 3611 Broadway so that the façade appears unified.”
He added that the support structures holding up the decorative moldings where deteriorating and that the “fastest, cheapest and safest solution” was to remove them but he decided against it after hearing comments from the community.
“We continue our effort unwavered and have accepted the delay and the financial burden to retain these precious moldings,” Dweck said. “It demonstrates our commitment to the community and our belief that Astoria will reward us back for years to come.”
There are seven former Childs Restaurant buildings remaining in Queens today and all of them are used as commercial spaces.