It’s May in New York City, which means that the Municipal Art Society has once again offered more than 200 neighborhood walks throughout the city. The walks honor Jane Jacobs, who was a journalist and community activist in New York City for many years. Jane Jacobs believed that urban development should take into account the community, and the annual walks illustrate that community-based theme. Last year I explored East Harlem during two unique Jane’s Walks. (You can read about those walks here and here.) This year I decided to use a Jane’s Walk to explore a neighborhood I had never been to before – Douglaston, in the borough of Queens.
The Jane’s Walk in Douglaston focused on the historic district, which is known as Douglas Manor. Douglas Manor was a planned community constructed in the early 20th century, not long after Queens became a part of New York City. What makes Douglas Manor special is its large collection of historic Arts and Craft style homes. In fact, those homes have resulted in Douglas Manor being named a New York City landmark. The walk was sponsored by the Douglaston Local Development Corporation and the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society, and was led by architects Kevin Wolfe, Victor Dadras, and Robert Dadras. Here’s Kevin Wolfe, who has led restoration efforts on a number of the community’s homes, explaining what characterizes the Arts and Craft style.
One of the things we quickly learned is that what makes the Arts and Crafts style special is its focus on handmade, craftsman-created architectural details. That means that Arts and Crafts homes can vary significantly in appearance and materials, often incorporating elements of other architectural styles as well. The diversity of Arts and Crafts design quickly became apparent on our walk, and early May is the perfect time to explore this neighborhood, with its many flowering trees. Here are just a few examples of the homes we discovered.
One of my favorite homes was this one, which was built by Norweigian painter and sculptor Trygve Hammer. I loved its unique character, and the fact that its handcrafted details made it fit the Arts and Crafts theme.
Interested in learning more about Douglas Manor? You can read the New York City Landmark report here, on the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society’s Website. To visit Douglas Manor in person, take the Long Island Railroad’s Port Washington line to Douglaston. The historic area is located a short walk north of the train station.