During the ForgottenTour on September 21, 2013, I discussed the Mary Sendek House at Queens Boulevard, which forced Macy’s to build a “notch” in their Moderne circular building. I was sent a photo of the house at it was in the 1930s and the 1960s before its demolition.
The circular R.H. Macy branch on the Boulevard was the site of an epic struggle between The World’s Biggest Store and a local homeowner, Mary Sendek (some accounts spell it Sondek). Mary and husband Joseph had purchased property at Queens Blvd. in 1922 and built a modest home there, raising a family; when Macy’s arrived after Joseph Sendek’s death and offered to buy the property, Mary refused to budge, even after Macy’s offered her five times what the Sendeks spent when they purchased the property. Macy’s eventually cut a notch in the circular structure to evade the property line.
In 1935, 55th Avenue was yet to be built and the Sendek house, second from right, was midblock. It was under assault from both traffic engineers, who just missed it when building 55th Avenue, and the burghers of Macy’s who could have made Mary a wealthy woman…if she would have moved.
Photos courtesy Todd Berkun