Yesterday, we showcased the interior landmarks of Manhattan and Brooklyn via a new tool by the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), launched in conjunction with the school’s exhibit “Rescued, Restored, Reimagined: New York’s Interior Landmarks.” Today, we’re moving on to Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island. While the majority of the 117 interior landmarks are in Manhattan, 8 are in the Bronx, 4 in Queens and 3 in Staten Island–and they’re no less impressive.
1. TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport
One of our favorite buildings to experience in New York City, the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport was saved from destruction (unlike several other jet age terminals at JFK) and is awaiting conversion to hotel. As an interior landmark, there won’t be any hotel rooms added to the terminal, but new buildings will be added to the side that won’t detract too much from the integrity of the original structure. See a full photo series of the space here.
2. RKO Keith’s Flushing Theatre
The abandoned RKO Keith Theatre is one of the sadder tales of New York City’s majestic theaters. It was designed by prolific theater architect Thomas Lamb, who also did the Ziegfeld Theater. It was an “atmospheric” theater meaning that images were projected onto the deep blue ceiling to look like clouds on a night sky.
The RKO Keith was abandoned for 30 years and a new owner is supposedly turning the building into condos. There’s a passionate 1500+ group on Facebook dedicated to saving the RKO Keith and battling the developer’s requests. The next public meeting about the building’s fate is on March 23rd, so you can still get involved.
3. King Manor Museum
King Manor was originally constructed between 1733 and 1755. It’s named after Rufus King, one of the signers of the Constitution who bought the property in 1805. The esteemed King was also the first United States Senator from New York, ambassador to Great Britain, a Presidential candidate and an early abolitionist. The house can be visited as part of the Historic House Trust of New York. See photos of the interior here.
4. Marine Air Terminal
The Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia was once where planes landed by sea. When it was built in 1939, the Marine Air was the largest and most expensive terminal at the time, spreading over 558 acres and amounting to $40 million in costs.
Inside the Terminal rotunda is a mural depicting the aviation history of mankind. “Flight,” as the mural was named, was designed by James Brooks and is the largest mural produced by the Great Depression’s Work Projects Administration (WPA) program (established by Franklin D. Roosevelt). Although the mural was painted over in the 1950s when it was mistaken for communist propaganda, it was restored in 1980 to its original state.
1. Bartow-Pell Mansion
The Bartow-Pell Mansion has an illustrious history dating back from before American Independence. In 1654, Thomas Pell signed a treaty with the Siwanoy Indians for the rights to 9,000 acres in what is now the Bronx and Lower Westchester. The treaty was signed under Bartow-Pell’s Treaty Oak, a giant white oak on the property that became the only tree to have an obituary on the front page of the New York Times when it died in 1906.
The property was passed on (and sometimes sold and re-acquired) through the generations until its current mansion was built by Robert Bartow between 1836 and 1842. In 1888, New York City purchased the estate as part of Pelham Bay Park. In 1914, the International Garden Club adopted the mansion as its clubhouse, restored the interior, and installed gardens, eventually opening the museum to the public in 1946.
2. Loew’s Paradise Theatre
The Loew’s Paradise Theater is one of the five Loew’s Wonder Theatres, opened on September 7, 1929. The Paradise’s auditorium was inspired by a 16th century Italian Baroque garden. See more architectural gems along the Bronx’s Grand Concourse. Today is it used as a church and meeting facility.
3. Van Cortlandt Mansion
Van Cortlandt House was built in 1748 and served as headquarters for George Washington and the family vault was the hideaway for the city’s municipal records during the war. The house was New York City’s first historic house museum.
4. Bronx General Post Office
The Bronx General Post Office was constructed between 1935 and 1937 and designed by Thomas Harlan Ellett and Louis A. Simon. The gray brick building almost camouflages into the streetscape but its real treasure lies inside, where there are thirteen murals by Ben Shahn and Bernarda Bryson Shahn. The paintings were inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem I Hear America Singing. As the United States Postal Service struggles amid massive debt, it has started selling off its real estate, and this building was sold to a developer in 2014.
See more interior landmarks in the Bronx here.
1. Sailor’s Snug Harbor
Sailors’ Snug Harbor in Staten Island was founded in 1801 by Captain Robert Richard Randall as a home for retired seamen. The retirement community opened in 1833 and remained open until the 1960s when it was moved to Sea Level, North Carolina. In 1965, Snug Harbor was declared a National Historic Landmark and reopened in 1976 as a cultural/art institution with a sprawling campus-like setting, including a botanic garden, a theater, a chapel, a farm, museums, cottages, and much more.
2. Lane Theater
The Lane Theater is an Art Moderne-style movie theater built on Staten Island in 1938. According to Cinema Treasures, “It offered the most modern RCA sound system of the time and was cooled by refrigeration.” Today it is a church.
3. Tompkinsville Pool Bath House
The Tompkinsville Pool Bath House was built as part of the WPA, in the Art moderne Style on a reclaimed waterfront property. The bath house has a domed rotunda and curved walls.
Bartow Pell Mansion Museum, Bronx General Post Office, King Manor Museum, landmarks, landmarks preservation commission, Loew’s Paradise Theatre, Marine Air Terminal, preservation, RKO Keith’s Theater, TWA Terminal, Van Cortland House Museum