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Randy Treadway

Mystery Department Store

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A round Macy's?

Where was this anyway? Apparently it was somewhere in the greater NYC area.

pc2album16.jpg

This is a postcard in a postcard album.

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No idea, Randy... but maybe I watched too many episodes of the Jetsons or something... 'cuz I've always been a sucker for mid-century round buildings. Here's a great one on the west coast (Sunset Boulevard, to be exact) which used to be white, but is now the bright green headquarters of Mark "DEVO" Mothersbaugh's Mutato Muzika studios.

3371512_4fb85a78f1.jpg

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here's a likely candidate:

(I found this description in Wikepedia)

...The same property problem presented itself when Macy's built a store on Queens Boulevard in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. This resulted in an architecturally unique round department store on 90 percent of the lot, with a small privately owned house on the corner. It was a case literally of the "little lady who wouldn't sell."

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Yep, it's the Queens Boulevard store all right.

I found more:

elmmacys.jpg

The World's Biggest Store had previously got into the ambitious architectural act in 1965 when Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed this (roughly) circular building surrounded by a parking garage. But a lady named Mary on Queens Boulevard and 55th Avenue almost scuttled the whole thing.

Macy's bought up all the real estate in the irregular block bounded by Queens Boulevard, 55th Avenue, 56th Avenue and Justice Avenue to build a new store here... all of it except the corner of Queens and 55th, where Mary Sendek's house and property stood. Mary and her husband Joe Sendek had bought the property in 1922 and had been there ever since, and Mary continued to live there after Joe died and the kids had moved out. The house was her life, and she couldn't be budged, even after Macy's offered her five times the value of the land! Defeated, Macy's simply cut a notch in the new building to avoid the Sendek property. When Mary died in 1980, her estate sold the property and a commercial building now stands on the site.

...and does it look like the building in this picture is now taller? you have an eagle eye....

this explains it:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...agewanted=print

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I remember that - and I remember seeing that house there with the big shopping center built all around it and puzzling over it - and then somebody explained to me what happened - just like Randy explained here. That lady was my heroine!

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And from Google Earth, here is how it looks today. I guess the house would have been in the lower right hand corner.post-3804-1228477612_thumb.png

Cool...I have a photo, and article about this home in a New York Book that I have....I'll dig it out and scan it.

I believe in 1980, the property became a bank.

Also, I believe Macy was the anchor store in the mall. The building itself was a full fledged mall, and it was circular inside, as well as multi level. I remember the top floor was a restaurant thats name escapes me..I just remember they had a cool Ice Cream fixin's cart. Hey...Was there an Alexanders in there as well?

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According to that linked New York Times article-

*after breaking ground in 1965, it was completed in 1969 and Macy's occupied the entire building.

*sometime later Macy's downsized and they leased out part of the building to Stern's Department Store.

*in 1995 Macy's moved out- apparently into the nearby Queens Center mall.

*in January 2000 Stern's moved out.

*in 2001 new developers took over the building and decided to pursue a "vertical mall" business model that had worked successfully with the Atlantic Center project in Brooklyn. The new name for this building is Queens Place. Their business model relies solely on 'big box' retailers, and none of the smaller stores you find in typical suburban malls.

*they built two new floors on top [that you can see in the recent color picture and in the Google Earth overhead picture]. These are the only two floors that are not serviced directly by "curbside parking" from the adjoining 1969 garage. But they put in a core elevator system in the middle of the building which stops at all floors.

*as Queens Place, the basement is leased to DSW Shoe Warehouse, the first floor is leased to Macy's Furniture Gallery, Best Buy is on the second floor, and Target has everything above that- the third floor and the new fourth floor for retail space, and the new top 5th floor for offices and storage.

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I remember Macy's very well, and the house that sat to the left of it on Queens Blvd.. Across the street, there was a great diner that served 12" inch slices of cake. Wow, the good life.

Now, to the right of Macys there was a bank in the shape of a wing that was built around the same time--you can still see it the google photo. Does anyone remember this?

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I remember driving by and seeing Mary Sendek mowing her lawn, had to be the late '70's. I remember the winged bank, too. Another famous real estate was Hurley's Bar on Sixth Ave. Not even John Rockefeller could get Connie Hurley to budge.

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<!--coloro:#3366FF--><span style="color:#3366FF"><!--/coloro-->Wow! I think the reason I enjoy peeking in to this board is PTU's ability to stir up old memories in a flash! MACY'S! And MARY! ..that Macy's had a parking area around the outside that you accessed by driving up a vry steep, very narrow round ramp. We moved from the area when I was 12, and I have vivid memories of my Mom driving up that ramp and making us be quiet cuz she was scared! It was scary. I even remember walking to Macy's first with my Mom when I still had to hold her hand when we walked and then as a kid with some friends, although as an adult I'm thinking..my parents let me walk from 57th street and Junction Blvd to Queens Blvd and 55th?!!??!! We moved when i was 12 so I was young!!! WOW!! As kids we all thought that Mary was a hero..she went about her life refgardless of the craziness around her. These days that would have never happened, with eminent domain she would have found herself without a home. I remember the diner across the street too! Someone here mentioned Alexanders..I'm trying to remember where that was, I don't think it was in the same complex but once again the power of PTU - I had forgotten about Alexanders until I read that post. I loved that store as a kid. Was that on 99th Street?

Well thanks, as always, for that blast from my past, keep it up!! My daughter Jess "Specialbunny" is off to Miane for the summer and I'm not sure how often she'll be able to check in here but I'm sure she'll get a kick out of reading more about my old "hood"!

Thanks as always,

Nancy <!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

The World's Biggest Store had previously got into the ambitious architectural act in 1965 when Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed this (roughly) circular building surrounded by a parking garage. But a lady named Mary on Queens Boulevard and 55th Avenue almost scuttled the whole thing.

Macy's bought up all the real estate in the irregular block bounded by Queens Boulevard, 55th Avenue, 56th Avenue and Justice Avenue to build a new store here... all of it except the corner of Queens and 55th, where Mary Sendek's house and property stood. Mary and her husband Joe Sendek had bought the property in 1922 and had been there ever since, and Mary continued to live there after Joe died and the kids had moved out. The house was her life, and she couldn't be budged, even after Macy's offered her five times the value of the land! Defeated, Macy's simply cut a notch in the new building to avoid the Sendek property. When Mary died in 1980, her estate sold the property and a commercial building now stands on the site.

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I believe Macy was the anchor store in the mall. The building itself was a full fledged mall, and it was circular inside, as well as multi level. I remember the top floor was a restaurant thats name escapes me..I just remember they had a cool Ice Cream fixin's cart. Hey...Was there an Alexanders in there as well?

As stated above, Macys was the only tenant for many years. I remember my parents buying one of our TVs at that store. (Macys used to have a pretty big tv/radio department). There was a restaurtant inside the store, as many department stores had back then. (some like Bloomies and Barneys still do). My friends and I would stop there after a hard day of shopping (starting out with $20 in our pockets ) and order ice cream.

Whatsup---you are thinking of the Cooky's Steakhouse that was in the Queens Center Mall a few blocks east of Macys. They had an ice cream frappe bar that they rolled up to your table. I thought that was the coolest too! Cooky's was a chain in the Tri-State that served all the beer, wine or sangria you could guzzle. Excellent banana bread and cabbage soup too. The White Castle on Queens Blvd. next to Queens Center is still there (for you ex-Queensites.)

Alexanders---the famous red-brick Alexanders- was further east on Queens Blvd. It was right next to the giant colonial-style Howard Johnsons. Alot of celebrities who came from Queens worked there but I can't recall them right now. That building was turned into a mall in the late '90s, with a Sears, Circuit City, Marshalls and Bed Bath and Beyond.

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If I remember correctly Alexanders was located by 63rd Drive and Queens Blv`d.The parking lot was behind the store adjacent to Lefrak City.Two incidents I remeber distinctly from the 60`s occured in the Alexanders parking lot.The first one occured when I was sitting in the lot waiting for my mom to finish shopping.Someone was waiting for a car to pull out of a spot.As soon as the first car left someone else sut him off and pulled into the spot.The first driver was so irate he got out of his car and started to shake his fist and curse.Unfortunatly he forgot to take the car out of drive.Before he could react the car crashed into a third car.The second incident occured soon after.I was again waiting in the parking lot when an old car pulled next to me with the engine smoking.A LADY AND HER TEENAGE DAUGHTED GOT OUT AND ASKED FOR MY HELP.I checked the car and realized that she had an overheated radiator.I told her how to go get help since there was nothing we could do on the spot.While this was occuring the lady kept telling me how great her daughter was and it was nice that we were around the same age.Me being my usual oblivious self ignored the fact that it was an obvious attemt to get me to ask out the daugher.That night when I got home my brother had to explain to me what was going on.We went back to the lot the next morning and the car was still there.I left a note on the windshield with my number on it asking the daughter if she would like to go out.To my surprise she called that night and we actually dated for about a year.apparently in the long run the mother loved me more than the daughter.Thanks for bringing back a long ago memory -Jerry

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Wow, thanks for the corrections..My view was always from the back seat of a 1974 AMC Gremlin..so It all mushed up into one scene...Cookys ..yes Thats the name..That restaurant on the 3rd level?

Also, The mention of all the beer, wine and sangria you can drink...wann't that Beefsteak Charlies claim to fame.

Alexanders and back to school shopping...back to the food, I do remember their restaurant, and they also I believe had a bakery

The Queens mall was a always a special shopping trip, as we lived within walking distance to 82nd and 37th ave in Jackson Heights. Home of Woolworths, and Pic-a-shoe...cheap sneaker store with loads of cheap no-name sneaks .Took me years to get some Pro-Keds, as the Pik-A-Shoe sneaks did not go over well at P.S. 127!!

Anyone else remember the ritual with getting a new Pair of Sneakers...They guys(friends or school mates) used to stomp them to break them in...This wAS in the 70's

Anyone remember when the Baricinni Candy store burned down in 1976?

I suppose this might be a Queensboard thing...Most of you provide fair memories..I kind of lived close to the park, so the facination comes from the landmarks.

Still, there is nothing more cool than the 7 train coming in towards Willetts point..The Unisphere and Shea Stadium!!

As stated above, Macys was the only tenant for many years. I remember my parents buying one of our TVs at that store. (Macys used to have a pretty big tv/radio department). There was a restaurtant inside the store, as many department stores had back then. (some like Bloomies and Barneys still do). My friends and I would stop there after a hard day of shopping (starting out with $20 in our pockets ) and order ice cream.

Whatsup---you are thinking of the Cooky's Steakhouse that was in the Queens Center Mall a few blocks east of Macys. They had an ice cream frappe bar that they rolled up to your table. I thought that was the coolest too! Cooky's was a chain in the Tri-State that served all the beer, wine or sangria you could guzzle. Excellent banana bread and cabbage soup too. The White Castle on Queens Blvd. next to Queens Center is still there (for you ex-Queensites.)

Alexanders---the famous red-brick Alexanders- was further east on Queens Blvd. It was right next to the giant colonial-style Howard Johnsons. Alot of celebrities who came from Queens worked there but I can't recall them right now. That building was turned into a mall in the late '90s, with a Sears, Circuit City, Marshalls and Bed Bath and Beyond.

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These days that would have never happened, with eminent domain she would have found herself without a home.

Welcome back Nancy,

Actually, the government still cannot take land via eimment domain if the purpose is purely to benefit a private business. Just a year or two ago we had a similar situation in the Toledo area with an older couple whose house was in a corner of a planned parking lot for a Lowe's store. Everyone else sold but them and their house and a small lot are still there - an island in a sea of concrete, blacktop and motor vehicles.

My daughter Jess "Specialbunny" is off to Maine for the summer and I'm not sure how often she'll be able to check in here but I'm sure she'll get a kick out of reading more about my old "hood"!

Please say "hello" to her for all of us.

Cheers!

John

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John, think again. Check out what has happened in places like New London or maybe Groton, CT where the courts have ruled that cities can take private land and use it for commercial development under the premise that the city will benefit from the additional tax revenues.

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If one looks at a photograph of the flagship Macy's in midtown, there is a small building which prevents the store from being a full rectangular shape and from fully occupying the site. This is because when RH Macy tried to purchase the Herald Square location, one small vendor would not sell. For decades after the giant store opened, that vendor maintained a small newsstand in that location.

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I had forgotten that storyline. Many thanks for making me laugh this morning.

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Wow! I think the reason I enjoy peeking in to this board is PTU's ability to stir up old memories in a flash!Nancy

I spotted the postcard that started this thread on eBay and thought it was curious- a round department store. If it was in the NYC area, I figured somebody here on PTU might recognize it.

It's neat when a topic mushrooms with memories though.

If I recall right, the 'album' that this postcard was in included many photos and postcards, scans of whichwere also shared by the seller in his eBay description, and there were some images of Lefrak City being built. So I guess for locals it would make sense that the round department store might not be too far from Lefrak City.

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<!--coloro:#3333FF--><span style="color:#3333FF"><!--/coloro-->Oh dear! I would LOVE to have seen those postcards!! Last November that thread re: Lefrak was awesome for me, and speaking with that one guy that had also lived there & went to the same elementary school! That was such a hoot! I tell my girls that i have "some-heimers" thats when its not "all" of the time just "some" of the time. Its a nice feeling to reconnect with some of these images and memories.

The Alexanders was in the opposite direction and actually I think it was closer and easier to get to. AGAIN I remember being alllowed to go there quite young, Jess knows that I'm a much tougher parent than that..lol..but again these are much tougher times. There was a coffee shop there in Alexanders and I remember getting sodas there and I think even ice cream sodas too. Both stores were very close and frequented often. It helped make Lefrak really feel like the center of all things.

Thanks again and keep it coming..

Nancy<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

I spotted the postcard that started this thread on eBay and thought it was curious- a round department store. If it was in the NYC area, I figured somebody here on PTU might recognize it.

It's neat when a topic mushrooms with memories though.

If I recall right, the 'album' that this postcard was in included many photos and postcards, scans of whichwere also shared by the seller in his eBay description, and there were some images of Lefrak City being built. So I guess for locals it would make sense that the round department store might not be too far from Lefrak City.

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Here's the postcard album where I saw the Macy's postcard- and you can still bid on it- top bid is so far just ten bucks.

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6289375632" target="_blank">http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...item=6289375632</a>

I thought this was where I saw the Lefrak pictures, but maybe that was somewhere else.

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Randy-

Thanks for the link..I'm keeping an eye out on it..

Nancy

Here's the postcard album where I saw the Macy's postcard- and you can still bid on it- top bid is so far just ten bucks.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...item=6289375632

I thought this was where I saw the Lefrak pictures, but maybe that was somewhere else.

Thanks John, nice to be back!

I have printed out some internet stuff for my first "Mommy's Famous Camp Care Package" of the summer and will definitley add good wishes from the PTU gang to Jess..

Nancy

Welcome back Nancy,

Actually, the government still cannot take land via eimment domain if the purpose is purely to benefit a private business. Just a year or two ago we had a similar situation in the Toledo area with an older couple whose house was in a corner of a planned parking lot for a Lowe's store. Everyone else sold but them and their house and a small lot is still there - an island in a sea of concrete, blacktop and motor vehicles.

Please say "hello" to her for all of us.

Cheers!

John

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