Oculus - Winter 2010/2011 - (Page 13)
Flushing, Queens: Thriving On Chaos
One Block Over By Claire Wilson
STUDIO V ARCHITECTURE
lushing, Queens, can be a bit of a shock for first-time visitors. It is a heaving pastiche of businesses, restaurants, and immigrants, mostly Asian, and is touted as one of the city’s most
diverse corners. Thirty-five minutes via the No. 7 subway from Grand Central Station, it is the largest transit hub outside of Manhattan, with links to the Long Island Railroad and 21 New York City bus routes, including one to LaGuardia Airport. According to Dion Yu, executive director of the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub Business Improvement District, 100,000 pedestrians pass through the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue daily. But the people of that corner of Queens must thrive on such colorful urban chaos, because there is a move afoot to add to it. Work is going ahead on plans for more residential and commercial space, and additional parking that will bring – surprise! – more cars.
STUDIO V Architecture: a residential complex will sit atop what remains of the historic RKO Keith Theater
Moss Gilday Group. They all stand in stark contrast to the teeming jumble of primarily low-rise Korean and Chinese jewelry stores, restaurants, food shops, herb shops, nail salons, banks, and clothing stores currently there, with nary a vacancy to be found. Even the rafters under the elevated train station function as retail. Despite concerns about added congestion and stress on infrastructure – the No. 7 train is already at capacity – these new projects have much to recommend them. They might give Queens the “downtown” it lacks, according to Michael Meyer, president of F&T; the neighborhood would
Flushing commercial streets like this are a jumble of small businesses one on top of the other
also be closer to the models of Asian capitals, with which the immigrant population retains close ties. Further, F&T’s Flushing Commons will have 50% more parking spaces than the municipal lot on which it will be built, and more than an acre of public green space (the area’s only one), designed by Thomas Balsley Associates. The RKO Keith, designed by Thomas Lamb in 1928, is key to the area’s revitalization, according to Jay Valgora, AIA, AICP, LEED AP, founder and principal of STUDIO V. Not only will his design restore the lobby that was not destroyed, but the mixed-use building will anchor that end of Main Street the way Ennead Architects’ (formerly Polshek Partnership) Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library does at the “It has been the missing tooth for two decades,” Valgora says, “but is a real opportunity to bring life and vitality to that end of Main Street.” Claire Wilson writes for the New York Times. OCULUS WINTER 10/11 13 Kissena Boulevard end.
Four projects expected to move forward at this writing include Flushing Commons, a 1.8-million-square-foot mixed-use residential complex designed by Perkins Eastman Architects, a joint venture of F&T Group and the Rockefeller Group; and another mixed-use project by F&T, this one 50,000 square feet with a Hyatt Place Hotel, designed by Margulies Hoelzli Architecture. STUDIO V Architecture designed a residential complex that will sit atop what remains of the historic RKO Keith Theater (partially bulldozed 20 years ago in a fit of pique by a former owner), as well as a master plan for the Flushing waterfront, which will include cafes, retail, entertainment venues, and 1,700 residential units. These sleek, modern new projects are reminiscent of Queens Crossing, a 12-story commercial condo with lower-level retail at the corner of Main Street and 39th Avenue; Flushing Mall, which opened in 2000 (both by F&T); and Sky View Parc, a mixed-use complex built by Muss Development and designed by Perkins Eastman and landscape architect
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Winter 2010/2011
Oculus - Winter 2010/2011
A Word from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
So Says...Craig Dykers, AIA, LEED AP
How Cities Learn from Each Other
Why Isn’t Architecture a U.S. Export Priority?
When Small Firms Venture Abroad
Division of Labor
Out of Africa
Thinking Globally, Acting Humbly
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Winter 2010/2011
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