You are reading

Jewish Funeral Home in Rego Park Likely To Be Demolished, Alarms Preservationists

Parkside Memorial Chapels (Provided by Michael Perlman)

Jan. 28, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

A historic Jewish funeral home in Rego Park is likely to be demolished to make way for a housing complex.

The owners of Parkside Memorial Chapels, located at 98-60 Queens Blvd., plan to develop the site and build affordable housing dedicated for seniors, according to Council Member Karen Koslowitz.

“As a 58-year resident of Rego Park/Forest Hills, it would be with a very heavy heart to witness the demolition of Parkside Chapels,” Koslowitz said. “At the same time, the sadness would be tempered by the fact that the new structure would create desperately needed housing for seniors.”

The owners, listed as PMC Owners Corp., have yet to file plans to demolish the funeral home with the Department of Buildings. However, a filing was made on Nov. 9 for a partial demolition that involves tearing down the “decorative masonry walls” on the first two floors, as well as the removal of structural steel supports and canopies.

Parkside vacated the building in spring, according to Michael Perlman, who is chair of the Rego Park-Forest Hills Preservation Council. The company merged with Schwartz Brothers funeral home last year and it has moved its entire operation to 114-03 Queens Blvd.

The Queens Post contacted Parkside about the future of its Queens Boulevard building but has yet to receive a response.

Perlman said that the building is of “historical significance” and should be preserved.

“This is a rare example of mid-century Modernism and is one of the most significant examples of architecture of its kind locally,” Perlman said.

Parkside Memorial Chapels was constructed in 1961 and is known for its exterior star-patterned walls –  shaped like the Star of David – which represent the sand of the Sinai Desert, according to Perlman.

There are also concrete screens between the walls with Star of David-shaped holes.

The exterior star-patterned walls (Provided by Michael Perlman)

The building features a bronze sculptural fountain of floating leaves near the entrance that spans nearly two stories. There is also a mature weeping beech tree at the front of the building that is considered the only one of its kind in the area, according to Perlman.

Perlman said the building is listed in the well-respected American Institute of Architects Guide To New York City.

“There is no reason why the building cannot be adaptively and creatively reused,” he said.

Koslowitz said that she aims to work with the developer to incorporate as much of the existing structure in the new development but noted she was pleased that the site would be used for affordable housing.

The councilwoman said that there is an affordable housing crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“The fact that there is a moratorium on non-payment evictions has masked the severity and expansion of the crisis,” she said.

Koslowitz said that the site is zoned for large-scale development and the owners have the right to demolish the current structure.

However, restrictions can be placed on the property if the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission designates the building a landmark.

“The Commission has taken no such action on Parkside,” Koslowitz said.

The bronze sculptural fountain at Parkside Memorial Chapels (L) and an entrance (R) (Provided by Michael Perlman)

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Cop injured by glass bottle thrown from 7 train station on Roosevelt Avenue: NYPD

An on-duty NYPD police officer was injured while standing on a foot post when he was struck by a glass bottle that was thrown from the 103rd Street-Corona Plaza, 7 train station above Roosevelt Avenue early Monday morning.

Police from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst reported that the officer was in uniform standing in front of 103-28 Roosevelt Ave. just before 2 a.m., when a man threw the bottle from the Flushing-bound platform. It struck the officer’s head, causing a laceration and a concussion.

Op-ed: An urgent call for revising NY’s criminal justice reforms to protect public safety

Apr. 11, 2024 By Council Member Robert Holden

In 2019, the State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo embarked on a controversial overhaul of New York’s criminal justice system by enacting several laws, including cashless bail and sweeping changes to discovery laws. Simultaneously, the New York City Council passed laws that compounded these challenges, notably the elimination of punitive segregation in city jails and qualified immunity for police officers. These actions have collectively undermined public safety and constrained law enforcement effectiveness.

City employee charged in fatal collision that killed a Middle Village woman in Elmhurst last month: NYPD

A truck driver for the city’s Department of Environmental Protection was arrested and charged in a fatal collision in Elmhurst last month.

Roderick Mitchell, 38, of Valley Stream, Long Island, turned himself in at the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst, where he was charged with failure to yield and failure to exercise due care for striking 43-year-old Natalia Garcia-Valencia of Middle Village on the morning of Tuesday, Mar. 12.