On Beach Channel Drive in the Rockaways, across from where we recently started our jet ski tour around New York City, sits an abandoned court house being taken over by the elements. According to Forgotten NY, it’s been abandoned longer than it was ever open. Built in the Art Moderne style in 1932, the courthouse has a similar rigid civic style as other government architecture of the period. It was rendered obsolete in 1962 when Queens consolidated its courts to Jamaica and Kew Gardens.
In the 1970s, the building reopened as an arts center but could not survive in the financial climate of the decade. Since 1985 there have been various proposals to convert the court to office and/or community use, but none have come to fruition. The building became a priority in the city’s Rockaway Task Force in 2012 and after an RFP and approval process, developer Uri Kaufman was given the go-ahead to convert the building into an outpatient medical facility. Forgotten NY reported in 2008 that the jail cells were still in the basement but by 2012 the New York Daily News reported that the interior had been gutted “by time, weather and vandals.”