Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cascading Closures

After we reported to you a couple of weeks ago about the closing of the long-time mom and pop fruit and vegetable store next to the Key Food on the north side of Queens Blvd., today we bring you an update to the story: the long-time deli next door to the mom and pop has gone up and vacated the adjacent premises as well. Leading to a rather intriguing possibility.... now, hmmmm, what can fit in a bigger space in an albeit rather worn and seen-better-days strip of stores? We will try to find out asap!


  1. Interesting. I wonder if any more adjacent stores will be shutting its doors as well.

  2. It is sad to see more small businesses, also known as "mom & pop shops," close their doors. The property owner is Cord Meyer. The corner store where Key Food currently is what once one of the most famous night spots in Forest Hills, from the 1940s - presumably the 1970s. It was known as Carlton Terrace, and the solid facade is a great example of Art Deco, & the interior was as well. Carlton was named after a street nearby, and the Carlton House is the Georgian Colonial apartment house 2 blocks east of the storefronts, designed around 1939.

    All these shops reflected the stylistic and commercial ideals of the 1939 World's Fair. The facade's backlit areas for signage helps keep that street of the business district uniform and presentable. It also has a streamlined polished stainless steel band, specifically engineered for awnings. Also take note of the curved facade corner, and the sleek horizontal and vertical streamline designs that unify the block, typical of Art Moderne or Art Deco, but now of a dying breed. These motifs make the streetscape more appealing for patrons.

    This is a Rego-Forest Preservation Council photoset on flickr. Take note of the current photos and the vintage matchcover which depicts the famed Carlton Terrace night spot:

  3. I heard a while back a rumor that all the stores between that Key Food and the bank (Sterling?) will become yet another drug store.

  4. I think that was an old rumor. In 2006, Cord Meyer Development wanted another pharmacy such as Duane Reade to open on that block, which we already have so many of in close proximity. So much for neighborhood diversity. Let's hope that does not happen.

  5. Michael,
    Thanks for the historical information about the site which we now know as just another Key Food!! Who would've thought it had such an interesting past.
    As I was looking really closely at the photos you linked to, and considering what you said about the historical art deco style, etc.. it left me thinking that I had always just looked at that block as appearing rather run-down. Am I wrong, or could that facade not benefit from a nice thorough cleaning? Maybe that would improve its appearance and allow everyone to appreciate this rather rare architectural style?

  6. It would almost appear revolutionary as it once did, if it underwent a restoration. I think the building appeared really dilapidated in the 1990s, when it had some tacky canopies obscuring some of its Art Deco detail. Historian Jeff Gottlieb covers this site on his annual walking tours of the commercial and residential district.

    Just recently, inside the Delicatessen, I noticed a patch of intricate Art Deco mosaic tiles in sky blue, red, and white, making an appearance in a few spots, below generic red tiling. Too bad I never took a photo of it. The future tenant should look into uncovering a gem. I truly couldn't believe what I was seeing!

    On a larger scale, it would be great for our business and residential corridors if stores had attractive signage that was harmonious with the style of the buildings, and had retractable awnings in some cases, rather than the flashy canopies which detract from the overall feel of the streetscape. We need a neighborhood beautification movement.