Deco Dereliction
July 30, 2008 2:45 PM   Subscribe

From the 7 train in Queens/Long Island City, on the stretch from Court House Square to Queensboro Plaza, where the line doglegs round a bend, is a derelict art deco factory.

It looks to date from the late 1920s, and it has some lovely lozenge-shaped tile detail on the facade. Google Earth tells me (if I have tracked it correctly) that it occupies the block between 23rd and 24th Streets, 42nd Road and Queens Plaza.

What did this building used to be?

It can be seen more clearly on this YT video, appearing at about 23 seconds, through to 40 seconds. Disregard the talk at the end of the YT link where they're talking about a different building - Eagle Electric - that's been turned into condos.

I love art deco and would love to know what this building used to be before it fell into disrepair. Does anybody know?
posted by essexjan to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you get an address? The Department of Buildings has a searchable database of inspections and violations, etc., that can be helpful.
posted by pinto at 3:01 PM on July 30, 2008

Response by poster: I can't work out the address from the location, as I'm not familiar with how US addresses are formulated. If someone can work this out from the streets given in the question, I'll check that database.
posted by essexjan at 3:25 PM on July 30, 2008

Addresses for Queens are usually formulated by cross street number then building number, so I'd guess it'd be 23-x 42nd road or 23-x Queens Plaza South in Long Island City.
posted by blueskiesinside at 3:39 PM on July 30, 2008

Response by poster: I keep putting in different combinations of the possible address but keep getting family dwellings, which this building is not. I'm obviously doing something wrong with the numbers.
posted by essexjan at 3:58 PM on July 30, 2008

Best answer: The building is not in the AIA guide.

You might want to ask Kevin Walsh of Forgotten NY. Although he doesn't mention the building, he does have a page on 23rd St on the FNY site.
posted by plastic_animals at 4:09 PM on July 30, 2008

Best answer: Well, a check of Google Earth's street view confirms your suspicions; that is at least the correct block.
posted by musicinmybrain at 5:07 PM on July 30, 2008

Best answer: It appears to be 4219 23rd St. I've just looked it up on Property Shark. Built in 1920, and PShark lists that as also owned by Eagle. Or do I have the wrong side of the street?
posted by JaredSeth at 7:03 PM on July 30, 2008

i think that's the former Swingline building., if it's the one I'm thinking of.
posted by KenManiac at 7:05 PM on July 30, 2008

Best answer: Perhaps it used to belong to Eagle Electric manufacturing:

If you still get no definite answer by next week, and I'll swing by there and see if I can get an address (I'm not riding my bike to work this week, so it's not convenient).
posted by Calloused_Foot at 8:13 PM on July 30, 2008

I'm not sure it's derelict if you mean the one right on the corner. i've seen people working in there.

here is a google map of some other notable places right around there (well semi notable).
i have no idea what that building was. There are many factory type buildings in that neighborhood much like it.

google map of stuff SW of queens Plaza
posted by darkpony at 8:15 PM on July 30, 2008

Response by poster: It does indeed appear to be a former Eagle Electric factory.

Having done some research through the sites linked on Forgotten NY, I've learned that Eagle, established in 1920, had several facilities in Long Island City. One, the Arris, has already been converted into condos (I think that's the one that was being talked about on the YT video). The one I'm interested in I would guess, from the style, was built between 1925-1929.

I don't know if it's the same in the US, but in the UK it's only in the last 20 years or so that the beauty of this style of architecture was recognised. But many beautiful and functional Art Deco buildings were lost, including Derby Bus Station, of which I have many fond memories, and the Firestone Factory, torn down the day before it was due to receive protected status as a listed building.

Thank you all for your help. I'm sure there are many more 'interesting' buildings in Queens, but I think this one is a fine example of its kind. I hope it will be sympathetically restored and preserved.
posted by essexjan at 6:20 AM on July 31, 2008

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