The abandoned courthouse has stood silently on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 90th Street, just east of Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge, for several decades, awaiting either the day when it would once again be occupied, or meet a wreckers’ ball.
The Magistrates’ Court sports the clean lines of the new Art Moderne buildings that were being built in 1932, the year it opened. In 1962, Queens consolidated its courts in Jamaica and Kew Gardens, and it was shuttered. It was reopened in the 1970s, briefly, by a cultural and theatrical group which soon succumbed to the fiscal crisis of that decade.
It has stood sentinel now over Jamaica Bay for more than forty years — it’s been closed for longer than it’s been open. The Wave, the Rockaway peninsula newspaper, has reported on various plans to revive the courthouse.
In 1985 Community Board 14 voted to support an application to the Board of Standards and Appeal for a variance to permit the Delaney Management Co. to set up insurance company business offices in the Rockaway Beach courthouse at 90-01 Beach Channel Drive, which Delaney proposes to buy from the city; apparently, nothing came from that proposal. In June, 2000 a lawyer representing Wallace LLC, from the Five Towns (just over the Nassau County line from Far Rockaway) submitted a bid to the city to purchase the building and transform it for community and professional use. Nothing came of the proposal.
In July 2013, developer Uri Kaufman purchased the abandoned hulk for the bargain price of $25,000, and intends to spend $10 million to turn it into a medical center, with construction expected to begin in early 2014.
Old Rockaway Courthouse Cleared to Become Medical Center [NY Daily News]
Kevin Walsh is the webmaster of forgotten-ny.com.