I was fascinated with this view I got through a slight opening in a plywood fence on 32nd Street north of 38th Avenue in Astoria. I have no idea how long the lot has been empty, what was there before, or what is intended to be built there, and I suspect that before too long, construction will commence and this fascinating streetscape will no longer be available for viewing.

Through the fence we see the Astoria Elevated, which runs from Queensboro Plaza north to Ditmars Boulevard; it has been here since 1917, and was originally run in an unusual joint operation by Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit and Interborough Rapid Transit. The two operators were bifurcated in 1949, when the IRT got the Flushing Line and the BMT got the Astoria, which is why the #7 runs on the Flushing tracks and various letter trains including the B, N, Q and W have all run on the Astoria.

Behind the Astoria Line we see buildings that belonged to the Marblette Corporation, which manufactured industrial plastic (specifically phenolic resins) used in the manufacture of oven handles, cooking tools and decorative door and cabinet parts, and other household items. It competed in the market with Bakelite which had many of the same uses. 

Marblette was in Astoria from 1931 to 1982; before that time they had been acquired by one company and then another. The company’s painted signs remain on 30th and 31st Streets.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



  1. Johnny Culver says:

    On the east side of 31st street, where the N and W run, form 39th avenue to 30th avenue, the older warehouses and single family homes are being demolished to make way for tall “luxury” apartments. The west side may catch up, but any high construction over three stories will block the Manhattan skyline for those on the east side of the el.

  2. Josh says:

    Until a few weeks ago this used to be the home of See Factor, a sound and lighting production company that rented out its products to various tv and film shoots, outdoor concerts, and other events across the city. Their trucks and lighting rigs would be parked inside this lot. Green plywood was installed not too long ago, and I’m fairly certain a new hotel or mixed-use development is going up.

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