Lefrak City Community Information

Community and Library History

Lefrak City was originally a 42-acre swampy and marginal land west of Horace Harding Boulevard in Corona. Since 1916 this land was unrestricted and it was overlooked by real estate developers of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s as a poor investment. The land was too soft and marshy for building large buildings. Earlier, it had been the scene of hundreds of Quonset huts for returning World War II veterans and their families--before many of them marched off to Long Island’s suburbs. Before that, the land was a fill dump which was called Mary’s Dump. In 1954, Samuel J. Lefrak, who was one of the world’s major builders and one of the largest landlords in the New York City metropolitan area, went to the City Planning Commission to have it re-zoned for business and residence districts. With an initial investment of more than $6 million, Lefrak purchased the vacant property from the estate of Lord William Waldorf Astor of England. Without any aid from federal, state or city funds, he then took a risk to invest $150 million into the project from 1961 until its completion in 1966. The architect was Jack Brown; Frank Stein was the renting manager. It was billed as “The City of Tomorrow”, as a city within a city to fill the acute housing shortage in New York City.

Soon after the construction a total of 5,000 apartments ranging from studios to three-bedroom units, with a new population of 25,000, were brought into the area, whose 20 18-story balconied buildings were surrounded by retail stores, supermarkets, restaurants, a public library, a bank, a post office, and two office buildings. Each apartment was built with nine-foot-high ceilings, an electric kitchen under-the-window air-conditioner sleeves, and a terrace for “total facilities for total living.” Inspired by the Olympic five-ring logo, the complex includes five intersecting residential sections, each section consisting of four buildings that form an x-pattern. Very uniquely, the buildings within each section are named for countries or cities that are located in the same part of the world. For example, section one is dedicated to Europe, with its buildings named London, Copenhagen, Paris, and Rome on their regimented bricks.

Lefrak City, the towering apartment complex, runs between the Long Island Expressway and 57th Avenue and stretches from Junction Blvd. to 99th Street. It borders Elmhurst, Corona and Rego Park. The official address of Lefrak City is 97-05 Horace Harding Blvd, Corona. The population of Lefrak City has varied over the years. In the beginning, the complex drew middle-class tenants and a large number of Jewish immigrants who had first settled in the South Bronx, the Lower East Side, and Brooklyn. Some of them were United Nations staff and diplomats. Lefrak City even housed many international exhibitors during the New York World Fair in 1964 and 1965. Following allegations by the Justice Department that black applicants were discriminated against in the early 1970s, the Lefrak Organization, which owns the property, agreed to help black tenants move into the complex.

In the 1980s, an increase of crime from drugs and gang violence led to the departure of Lefrak City’s white middle-class and left it teetering on the edge of collapse. It was not until the early 1990s that the coincidental arrival of Russian Jews and more African immigrants brought new life to the complex. This unlikely combination of newcomers, Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union’s Central Asia Republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and Muslim immigrants from Africa, has revitalized Lefrak City and stabilized its population. Toward the turn of the 21st Century, Lefrak City and its expanded adjacent vicinities have witnessed a new wave of Hispanic and Asian immigrants, mostly from countries such as Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru as well as China, India, Philippines, Pakistan, and Korea.

Lefrak City is a short walk away from the bustling mass transportation hub that brings together eight local bus lines as well as G, R and V trains. Triboro Coach Corp. operates Manhattan-bound express buses that stop at the complex. The Long Island Expressway intersects the Grand Central Parkway to the east, and Queens Blvd. and Woodhaven Blvd. meet two blocks from the complex. In addition to its indoor shopping center, the complex is within walking distance of the Queens Center Mall and the Rego Park shopping center. With courts for tennis, basketball, and volleyball, soccer fields, ice skating rinks, playgrounds, parking spaces and public garages, picnic and barbecue areas, jogging trails, and a vegetable garden for senior citizens, Lefrak City is a haven and a home for new immigrants, mainly from Latin America, Africa, Russia and Asia.

Through the years, Lefrak City has made a myriad of non-profit cultural, social, athletic, religious, and educational activities available to all residents: including an on-premises after-school program, computer-learning center, summer day camp, and youth employment program. Each summer the housing complex sponsors a barbecue for tenants during Family Day. To serve the international flavor of its tenants Lefrak City also has a mosque, a synagogue, and a Baptist church, as well as other organizations that cultivate a strong sense of belonging. Today, Lefrak City, the largest privately financed apartment development in the United States is still attracting new residents from all over the city and the world.

With a “Please Open Before Christmas,” the library at Lefrak City, the Queens Borough Public Library’s fifty-fourth branch started serving its thousands of residents on Tuesday, December 13th, 1966. Mrs. Marie Bottomley was the librarian in charge of the branch. At the time, the library rented a special wing in one of the Lefrak buildings, at 98-27 Horace Harding Expressway, to house the 8,000 sq. ft. branch. It had a capacity for 35,000 volumes, seated 110 readers, and boasted a community room for library-related programs. The Bookmobile, giving weekly library service, made its last stop in the area on December 6th, 1966.

The new Lefrak City Community Library, with the state-of-the–art-facility was relocated within the Lefrak City housing complex again at 98-30 57th avenue between 99th Street and Junction Blvd. The new branch is more than two times larger than the previous building, which reopened its doors to customers on August 18, 2003 after the extensive renovations. The Borough President’s Office contributed $600,000 from its 2004 capital budget for continuing renovation to the building. Richard Lefrak, Sam Lefrak’s only son and the third president of the Lefrak Organization, donated $50,000 to cover work to the heating and ventilation systems, sidewalk repair and plumbing. Because of the new improvements, the library now features an enlarged children’s room, a stadium-seating story time room for kids, an easy-accessible teen area, redesigned circulation desk, an elevator near the library’s entrance for handicapped people, and user-friendly self-checkout machines. It also has a 120-seat auditorium which could be divided into smaller sections for programs, classes and meetings.

INFORMATION PROVIDED BY QUEENS PUBLIC LIBRARY


 

 

 

 

Links to More Websites
http://www.lefrak.com/
http://queens.about.com/od/realestateandapartments/g/lefrak_city.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeFrak_City,_Queens
http://www.queenspix.com/
http://www.queenstribune.com/archives/anniversaryarchive/anniversary99/been_doin/tb_an_doin02.html



Corona Times
Phone: (718) 592-2196

Queens Chronicle
Phone: (718) 205-8000

Queens Tribune
Phone: (718) 357-7400

Flushing Meadows/Corona Park
Grand Central Parkway & Van Wyck Expressway

Linden Park - Park of the Americas
104 Street & 41 Avenue

Horace Harding Playground
62nd Drive between 97 Place & 98th Street

 The Islamic Center-Masjid AlFalah
42-12 National Street
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 476-7968

Community Board #4
104-03 Corona Avenue,
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 760-3141
Fax: (718) 760-5971

LCTA
97-11 Horace Harding Expwy
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 271-2267

Lefrak Organization, Inc.
97-77 Queens Blvd.
Rego Park, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 459-9021

Lefrak City Merchants Association
P.O. Box 730634
Corona, NY 11373
Phone: (718) 271-4309

Lefrak City Youth & Adult Activities Association Inc. (LCYAAA, Inc.)
P. O. Box 730523
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (866) 862-5544

Lefrak City Jewish Center
98-15 Horace Harding Expressway
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 271-9621

Baptist Church Eternal Love
54-07 99 Street
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 271-1482

Trinity Baptist Chapel
97-22 57th Avenue
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 271-3398

Kathy’s Day Care #1
97-30 57 Avenue Apt 1J
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 592-5116

Kathy’s Day Care  #2
98-23 Horace Harding Expwy Apartment 1F
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 699-1373

Sesame Sprout Inc.
96-08 57 Avenue
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 271-2294

International Children’s School
57-27 Penrod Avenue
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 271-1000

Montessori School of New York International
55-30 Junction Blvd.
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Phone: (718) 857-3341

PS 14 Fairview School (Q014) (K-5)
107 Otis Avenue
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 699-6071

Powerhouse Fitness GYM Center
58-04 99th Street
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 592-4040

Lefrak City Mgt. Office
9705 Horace Harding Expressway
Corona, NY 11368-4157
Phone: (718) 271-5000

Playground for All Children
Corona Avenue & Saultell Avenue & 111th Street

Johnson’s Little Tots Academy (PreK-K)
99-04 57th Avenue
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 592-3096

Queens Occupational Training Center HS (P721Q)
57-12 94 Street
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Phone: (718) 760-1083

High School for Arts & Business YABC (Q550)
105-25 Horace Harding Expressway
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 271-8383

PS 220 Edward Mandel School (PreK-5)
62-10 108 street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Phone: (718) 592-3030

Public Intermediate/junior High Schools
IS 061 Leonardo Da Vinci (Q061) (6-8)
98-50 50th Avenue
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 760-3233

JHS 157 Stephen A Halsey School (6-9)
64th Avenue and 102nd Street
Rego Park, NY 11374
Phone: 718) 830-4910

Senior Centers
Lefrak Senior Citizens Center
98-16 55th Avenue
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 271-1222

PR HE Corona Senior Center
108-74 Roosevelt Avenue
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 639-2000

Newtown Italian Senior Center
83-20 Queens Blvd.
Elmhurst ,NY 11373
Phone: (718) 335-7272

Raices Corona Senior Center
102-47 43rd Avenue
Corona ,NY 11368
Phone: (718) 458-7259

  Castle Senior Living (residential)
108-25 Horace Harding Expressway
Forest Hills ,NY 11368
Phone: (718) 760-4600

Madison York Assisted Living Community

112-14 Corona Ave. Flushing ,NY 11368 Phone: (718) 699-4100 

 

PS 206 Horace Harding School (PreK-5)
61-21 97 Place
Rego Park, NY 11374
Phone: (718) 592-0300

Happy Dragon Learning Center
98-25 Horace Harding Expwy
Corona, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 271-5637

Police Department
110th Precinct
94-41 43rd Avenue
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Phone: (718) 476-9311

 
 

St. John’s Queens Hospital
95-25 Queens Blvd
Flushing, NY 11373
Phone: (718)-286-1000

 

Elmhurst Hospital Center
79-01 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Phone: (718) 334-4000

 

Fire Department
Fire Company of Queens Engine 324
108-01 Horace Harding Expressway
Corona, NY 11368

Lefrak City Medical Center
98-15 Horace Harding Expressway
Lefrak City, NY 11368
Phone: (718) 699-8500

Corona/Elmhurst Post Office
5901 Junction Blvd
Elmhurst, NY 11373-9997
Phone: (718) 271-8630 or (800) 275-8777

 

Lost Battalion Hall
93-29 Queens Boulevard
Rego Park, NY 11374
Phone: (718) 263-1163/4121