by Kevin Walsh

I was stopped on the railroad on Tuesday right in front of what may be the most iconic, emblematic Fedders building I’ve seen in Queens, on 44th Avenue in Corona facing the LIRR embankment.

It’s all here… the concrete lawn with sport utility vehicle parking, the Fedders AC cutouts, the meters front and center, the bland blond brick, the rusted fire escapes. The only nod to any design at all is a little flourish in the brickwork. Bars on the windows just add to the whole package.

Lest you think I’m literally looking down my nose at this stuff, I’ve been lower middle class my whole life, and up until the 1980s or so, ‘affordable’ attached housing was actually built with discreetly hidden meters, actual grass in the front and fire escapes in the back — or around a central terrace of green grass and trees.

But developers don’t build houses like that anymore for a certain price.



Pocono Chuck August 7, 2013 - 12:32 pm

I know this sort of housing well, having grown up in Corona myself.

NY2AZ August 7, 2013 - 12:48 pm

Form follows function. Exterior meters mean that Con Ed doesn’t need access every month. Corona is parking hell, so sacrificing a backyard to provide tenant parking is to be appreciated. Even in the wide open spaces here in AZ, where HOA’s dictate & every house has a 2 or 3 car garage with a wide driveway, folks still insist on parking in front yards & driveways because they use their garages as storage lockers. Call it the intersection of utilitarianism & individualism.

Kevin Walsh August 7, 2013 - 5:44 pm

Yeah but that building is g—-n ugly, as are all of its ilk.

No. January 17, 2016 - 5:08 pm

Form follows function, but that doesn’t relieve anyone of their decision-making responsibilities in the design process. Goes to show how far we have yet to go in the field of psychology when we can’t even prioritize these intersections of depression and apathetic sadomasochism from spreading like HIV in 1990. Surely all the design issues you’ve pointed out can be solved more elegantly with a little less laziness.

Allen August 7, 2013 - 12:52 pm

Kevin, those things are supposed to pass for terraces.

Pat Collum August 7, 2013 - 1:19 pm

I think these houses may predate the “80s. Also many homeowners will cement over the grass because they value a parking space more and consider it less work than maintaining greenery. Go ofigure.

dave c. August 7, 2013 - 1:54 pm

25 years from now, it will be ALL Fedders specials throughout Queens, with perhops the exception of the brick rowhouses that already exist (like the one I grew up in, and as seen in your photo to the right) They might be too hard to tear down. dc.

The Cheese August 7, 2013 - 4:09 pm

Y’know, I gripe at the ‘in-fill’ housing here in Portland, OR that clashes with the existing houses in the neighborhoods, but we don’t have anything as egregious as that monstrosity.

Dan August 7, 2013 - 10:41 pm

It’s strange that every window has bars, including those that are impossible for anyone but the fire department to reach.

I’ve only seen that in Williamsburg, where the strange apartment buildings thrown up by the Hasidim have been “child-proofed” beyond belief — and look as if they’ve been airlifted in from Eastern Europe.

But this? Definitely hand-me-a-razor-blade depressing.

John August 7, 2013 - 10:53 pm

Soon coming to Staten Island. Mount Manressa retreat house is in the process of being sold by the Jesuits to a developer. Kevin, you had better get there and take some photos before it looks like this – that is if you can get on the property now.

Tom August 8, 2013 - 12:28 am

apt blocks on the Siberian gulag have more style than that thing. this is the “tenement housing” of the 21 century.

Tom August 8, 2013 - 12:34 am

…Jacob Riis would’ve appreciated this photo.

Joe Moretti August 8, 2013 - 5:37 am

You see this crap all over certain parts of Jamaica, beautiful homes torn down to put up these new “mini projects”. On top of being major eyesores in the community, they tend to house low class slobs and attract a certain type of element and the property owners do very little to maintain the property and let the tenants do whatever they want. Usually garbage is all over the place, garbage containers are overflowing and as years go by they look worse and worse. These places normally have so many violations, even from the get go when they were being built. What has happened to Queens?

queensbee August 8, 2013 - 8:46 am

hope you sent it over to Queens Crap!

Peter August 11, 2013 - 8:35 am

Does the building have a legal curb-cut?


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