Author Topic: Quonset Huts  (Read 11493 times)

Offline liam0925

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Quonset Huts
« on: May 19, 2009, 11:54:14 PM »
Way back, really way back in the late 40's early 50's I visited my Uncle and Aunt in Jackson Heights.  At that time they lived in a Quonset Hut which was post War temporary housing.  Anyone know where in Heights that might have been?

Offline Chuckster

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2009, 12:10:40 AM »
Liam, I found the following article from the Queens Chronicle referring in main part to The Boulevard Theater, but it does make mention of Our of Lady of Fatima being housed in a Quonset hut post war.  Maybe one of our long-time residents can provide more information.  By the way, is Fatima's location Jackson Heights or East Elmhurst? 

The Boulevard Theater, an icon in Jackson Heights
by Ron Marzlock, Chronicle Contributor
05/07/2009

In 1925 Grob and Knobel hired famous architect Herbert J. Krapp (1887-1973) to build a 1,839-seat movie theater, the Boulevard, on a 100-by-160-foot plot of land in Jackson Heights. Krapp worked mainly in New York City, and 15 of his Broadway theaters are still standing today. As is the one he designed on Northern Boulevard.

In 1928 famous mogul William Fox of Roslyn took over the theater. When the Depression hit the following year, Skouras Theaters acquired the Boulevard, along with neighboring theaters in Jackson Heights andSunnyside. George King managed the Boulevard.

In the late 1930s the Boulevard had an assessed value of $245,000, but by the late ’40s it had droppedto only $220,000.

In 1948 Quonset huts, remants of World War II, were the first home of OurLadyof Fatima parish school and church.  While a church was being erected on 80th Street, the Boulevard hosted Sunday masses for parishioners.

By the ’70s the theater was in decline. When it closed, community activists fought against its demolitionand won.

In 1985 it became Native Specialties Restaurant, with a bar, restaurant and theater that occasionally would show a foreign movie. You could also rent out the theater for plays at $1,000 a night, complete with a sound technician.

Today residents are proud of their landmark building and grateful it has survived.
The Chuckster has spoken!

Offline toddg

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2009, 12:41:10 AM »
Very intriguing question.   Here are some articles that may provide answers:

Veterans are called for housing project (NY Times, 10/16/1946)

The selection of occupants for the first seventy-five apartments at the huge Federal temporary housing development at Northern Boulevard and Seventy-first Street, Jackson Heights, Queens, got under way yesterday, just ten days after construction had begun....

City to Spend $200,000,000 For Housing 17,000 Families (NY Times, 3/13/1948)

The Board of Estimate's "unanimous and whole-hearted" approval of a $200,000,000 program of new housing to accommodate 17,000 families was announced yesterday by Mayor O'Dwyer. The apartments, to rent for $15 or $16 a room a month, will be built by the New York City Housing Authority and will be in addition to 32,808 apartments already under construction or planned by the Authority....

 ... 3700 now forced by the housing shortage to remain in lowest-rent projects for which they no longer are eligible; 2100 now living in temporary projects, ... A two-part plot in Jackson Heights bounded by Thirty-second, Thirtyourth Avenues, Eighty-eighth to Ninety-second Streets, ...

FACTORY PROMISED WITH RAID SHELTER; But Jackson Heights Residents Protest Against 'Invasion' by Bulova Watch Company (12/7/1950)

A promise to erect in Jackson Heights, Queens, a factory strong enough to serve as an air raid, shelter in the event of an enemy attack on this city was made to the City Planning Commission yesterday by an official of the Bulova Watch Company....

...The plan calls for the city to a 145-acre section now occupied by a temporary veterans housing development on Northern Boulevard...

(Without seeing the whole article, I can't be sure, but I think some of the land around the Bulova Center was being proposed as the site for permanent housing for the families then in temporary housing along Northern Blvd.)


STUDY TO BE MADE OF QUEENS CENTER; Park Association Appoints 2 to Investigate 100-Acre Project Proposed in Jackson Heights ORIGINAL PLANS TRIMMED Development as Now Visioned Would Include a Stadium, Pool, Public Buildings (4/11/1951)

A special committee was named yesterday by the Park Association of New York City to study the proposed establishment of a 100-acre community center in Jackson Heights, Queens....

...The plan called originally for city development of a 145-acre section now occupied by a veterans temporary housing project on privately owned land between Northern Boulevard, Astoria Boulevard and Grand Central Parkway: Charles Abrahams, one of the supporters of the project....



Offline toddg

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2009, 12:52:21 AM »
This was a worthwhile exercise.  I didn't know about the veteran's housing along Northern Blvd., and certainly didn't know about the proposal for the "Community Campus" that was proposed for that site.  It explains what has long been a mystery to me: why does Northern Blvd. lack any real development in the 70's?  It's all car dealerships and parking lots, in contrast to the much denser commercial development in the 80's and above.  Now we know: during the postwar development boom in Jackson Heights, this land was locked up in temporary housing.

Please keep us posted if you learn more.

Offline liam0925

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 12:00:41 AM »
Thanks Chuckster and Todd.  I'll follow up and keep you posted as the "mystery" unfolds...a hidden city within the city..hmmmm may be a short story here.   ::)

Offline Queenskid

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 10:24:13 AM »
This was a worthwhile exercise.  I didn't know about the veteran's housing along Northern Blvd., and certainly didn't know about the proposal for the "Community Campus" that was proposed for that site.  It explains what has long been a mystery to me: why does Northern Blvd. lack any real development in the 70's?  It's all car dealerships and parking lots, in contrast to the much denser commercial development in the 80's and above.  Now we know: during the postwar development boom in Jackson Heights, this land was locked up in temporary housing

Todd, I think the lack of development in the 70's also has something to do with the landing patterns for Laguardia.  I grew up under the old landing pattern and I can tell you that the planes came in very low even South of Northern.

Offline liam0925

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 06:13:09 PM »
Following up on Todd's links and a few dollars later this is what i found:

10/16/1946 NYT reported that the first set of Veterans were selected as occupants of the first 75 apartments at the huge Federal temporary housing development at Northern Blvd and 71st Street---just 10 days after construction had begun!  1,874 veterans and their families were to be housed at the site.  The site for the project was 150 acres from Northern Blvd to Astoria Blvd with space reserved for school, shopping and other facilities.  To be selected one had to be a veteran of WWII, applied to the NYC Housing Authority and be in imminent danger of eviction from present quarters.

and 2 years later:

This from the NYT  3/13/1948  calling for the City to spend $200,000,000 to construct 17,000 housing units throughout the city and to rent for $15 or $16 a room
The Jackson Heights section was:
“A two part plot in Jackson Heights bounded by Thirty-second, Thirty Fourth, Eighty Eight to Ninety Second Streets, Northern Blvd , Ninetieth  Street to Junction Blvd…” 

It would be interesting to hear from anyone who lived there.

Thanks for the all the leads!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 06:22:04 PM by liam0925 »

Offline markerhan

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2009, 09:01:06 PM »
My mother spoke of the quonset huts and I believe she said they were on Northern, but they were gone by the late 50's when I was little.  We did attend Our Lady of Fatima, and I loved our little quonset hut church.  One of the priests there told me that, when Fatima built it's permanent church, the quonset hut was moved to Astoria to be the first home of St. Margaret Mary parish.

Mary

Offline munkb

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 07:17:34 PM »
I lived in the so called Quonset Huts as we moved from lower Manhattan  in Aprill of 1947 when they were tearing down our tenement to make room for the Al Smith Housing Project

My older brother was a WWII vet and thus we were eligible. We were offer first choice to moved back to the projects but my mom did not want to return as Jackson Heights was like the country to us.

Now while they are Called Quonset Huts by many ours was a four bedroom barrack type with three sererate family to each BarracksThe actually Quonset Huts were further back towards Laguardia the Barrack type closer to Northern Blvd. We were covered by the 114 Pct. When we first move.in the Catholic  mass on Sunday was held at the Ford showroom on 73 st and northern blvd across from the bar the Willow Terrace

Our address was 32-17 70th Terrace
We were an integrated community with black family amongst us and  and the third  family  on our barrack also some was a refugee Jewish family who i believe farther served with the Polish Army.My schools were PS 152 and Bryant High School. I have pictures of which I will post in a separate E-mail to give you an idea of what they look like.
Kevin Dodson who costarred on TV series Kojak also live in this housing.

It was great to grow up from 47 to 53, when they tore them down

.

Frank Biondo

Offline Old76er

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2010, 01:24:48 PM »
Just saw this site and the talk of the quonset huts brought me back to my childhood.

I seem to recall that they werent quonset huts they were wooden barracks-like structures covered in asphalt-shingles made to look like bricks. I lived in a row house on 76th street between northern and 32d Ave., the first block after the "projects," as we called them, and from my bedroom window I could look across a sea of huts to 69th street, and the Empire State building looming in the distance.

The huts were heated with kerosene stoves and every year or so there would be a horrific fire that would attract kids from miles around. After the buildings were torn down in the early '50s, the vacant land made a great playground where we played war using shingles the size of little frisbees as ammunition.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the PS 69 border stopped at Northern Blvd, so I went to kindergarten and first grade (1948-50) in a little red shingle schoolhouse in the projects, on 75th and 31st Ave., where the shopping center was later built. There I learned how to read, thanks to Dick & Jane.

 

Offline DentonT

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2011, 12:24:45 PM »
I lived at 32-32 74th Street, very near to Northern Blvd and have pictures of what were definitely wooden barracks. My father was also NYPD, Emergency Squad, and was in the Army Air Corps. He lives in Florida since retiring in 1968.  Denny Tillman

Offline truspring

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2011, 07:18:09 PM »
My family lived in the metal Quonset huts that were located across from Saint Michael's Cemetery. Ours was on First Walk, near Astoria Blvd. later we moved to the wooden ones that had shingles on 76Th Terrace just about a block in from Northern Blvd. We would play hide and go seek in the cemetery and the older kids would scare the younger ones with ghost stories.  We spent many summer days walking to Astoria pool to save the bus fare for hot dogs and soda.

Offline kiwijack

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2012, 09:25:44 AM »
My family moved into the Quonset huts in Jackson Heights in 1946/47, I was 3 or 4 years old.  I was in the first class of Our Lady of Fatima, which was held in the basement of St. Joan of Arc school. I am searching for pictures to show my family of what this looked like, I now moving to Florida into a Manufactured Home and that brought back the memories of youth. 

The planes landing at LaGuardia seemed to fly so low over the house that you could see the pilot in the cockpit. Remember the snow of 1948.
We moved to Pomonok in Flushing around 1952/3 and I have never seen these homes again.


Offline ECG

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2012, 03:39:04 PM »
I remember the Quonset huts. I lived on 83rd near 34th and my dad and I would walk over there to see the planes. Circa 45-46.

Offline suebe

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Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2012, 11:32:03 AM »

I lived in a row house on 76th street between northern and 32d Ave., the first block after the "projects," as we called them, and from my bedroom window I could look across a sea of huts to 69th street, and the Empire State building looming in the distance.


I lived in the detached house on 76th St betw/ Northern and 32nd Ave right behind the gas station and bowling alley parking lot! I remember the great view of the Empire State Building, but the huts were long gone by then.

Jackson Heights Life

Re: Quonset Huts
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2012, 11:32:03 AM »