Beechhurst homes win 12 awards

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The Queens Historical Society announced Saturday the 12 winners of its Queensmark designation for historic homes in Beechhurst and Robinwood.

The homes each received a Queensmark plaques at a ceremony at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point.

“We feel by identifying these places we could contribute to Queens’ heritage,” said Stanley Cogan, president of the Queens Historical Society.

The 11 houses and one apartment building were selected by the society’s preservation committee, which includes historians and architects, after the committee conducted a survey from January to April.

The Queens Historical Society defined Beechhurst and Robinwood as stretching along the East River north of the Cross Island Parkway and east of 154th Street. The Robinwood properties are wedged in between Cryder’s Lane and the Cross Island Parkway.

Most of the buildings selected were constructed at the turn of the 20th century as well as in the 1920s and 1930s, when Beechhurst and Robinwood were sparsely developed.

“It was a convenient place for boating,” said Cogan. “It was a secluded offshoot of Whitestone.”

In the 1920s, the community became a haven for New Yorkers who worked in the theater. The Hammerstein Estate is Beechhurst’s most famous piece of property, named after the producer Arthur Hammerstein. While inhabited by residents as part of the Wildflower Estate, a condominium complex, the Hammerstein mansion still stands and has been declared a city landmark.

Beechhurst and Robinwood are the ninth and tenth communities to be designated with Queensmarks since the award was created by the Queens Historical Society in 1996. Richmond Hill, College Point, Hunter’s Point, Jackson Heights, Corona, East Elmhurst, Astoria and Woodhaven have already received the designation. The remainder of Whitestone, which lies to the west of Beechhurst, is the next community to be surveyed.

In addition to the quality of the buildings’ architecture, the history of the properties were also taken into consideration by the Queensmark committee.

David Sarrantonio, whose home at 13-08 160th St. was given the Queensmark designation, said his house was rumored to have been owned by entertainers in the 1920s.

“We hear that there was an old comedy team called Gallagher and Shean,” he said, referring to the 1920s vaudeville act of Edward Gallagher and Al Shean. “One of those two may have lived here.”

Cogan said recipients were often very happy to learn of the designation.

“We were shocked and honored that our home was chosen,” said Louise Hanel, whose home at 14-38 158th St. was selected, speaking for herself and her husband, Richard. “There are so many fabulous homes in Beechhurst.”

The remaining winning homes are located at:

162-60 14th Ave.

166-17 14th Ave.

166-23 14th Ave.

169-17 14th Ave.

14-20 160th St.

154-66 12th Rd.

160-38 12th Rd.

160-14 10th Ave.

12-16 Totten St.

160-15 Powell’s Cove Blvd.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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