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In 1959, the City Planning Commission formally received plans for the Big Six Towers Feb. 2, a proposed cooperative apartment housing complex sponsored by New York Typographical Union No. 6.
The local newspapers described it as a “limited profit project” covering more than six blocks on the south side of Queens Boulevard from 59th to 61st streets and from 47th Avenue to Laurel Hill Boulevard. The nearly $12 million development would supplant seven two-family and nine one-family homes, four used car lots, a gas station, a garage and a small commercial building on the site.
The plan included eight buildings 14 to 17 stories high, sitting on land where there would also be “much space for gardens and landscaping.” Under the Mitchell-Lama law, the city was to provide a mortgage loan of $10 million for a term of 50 years at 3 1/2 percent interest. The sponsors planned to petition the city Board of Estimate for a 40 percent tax exemption, maintaining that even with it in effect the city stood to reap as much as $200,000 a year in taxes from the project.
The project comprised of 26 efficiency apartments, 172 one-bedroom suites, 327 two-bedroom suites and 172 three-bedroom suites. In total, 697 apartments were slated for those in the union who worked on newspapers and related printing fields. After an initial down payment, they and their families can then set out to enjoy their new homes for only $21 a month.
Problems of air pollution beset Queens. The Star-Journal grimly reported that while Queens ranked fourth in the number of summonses received for air pollution violations in 1959, it paid more in fines than any other borough in the city: a whopping $4,320.
After the city Department of Air Pollution Control investigated 2,110 complaints, it issued 721 violations summoning offenders 203 times. According to a department spokesman, half of the violations came from apartment houses.
A veteran civic leader from Flushing came up with an interesting plan to help solve the disproportionate tax burdens facing Queens residents.
Noting that the proposals by Mayor Robert Wagner and Gov. Nelson Rockefeller would leave the borough “snowed under” financially, Alfred O. Glicker proposed –– with the utmost seriousness –– to have it secede and join the state of Connecticut.
In Glicker’s view, Wagner and Rockefeller’s constant rise of taxes forced residents to do their shopping in the suburbs. At the same time, Connecticut was undergoing a time of “booming prosperity” due in part to no state taxes levied.
Glicker maintained that joining the Constitution State would only benefit small homeowners: “The assessments in Connecticut would be much lower and we’d get more for our tax dollar.”
For its “pre-spring sale,” Chrysler Manhattan on Northern Boulevard had a sale to clear out its inventory.
A 1957 Chevrolet was on sale for $1,295, a ’56 Buick for $1,595, a ’57 Chrysler Imperial (complete with air conditioning) for $2,195, a ’58 Plymouth four-door station wagon for $2,495 and — get this — a ’58 Corvette for $3,095 and a ’57 Cadillac convertible for $3,495.
For more information, call 718-278-0700 or visit astorialic.org.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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