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Kew Gardens: Urban Village in the Big City - An Architectural History of Kew Gardens

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0967095400
ISBN-10: 0967095409
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

This extraordinary book, a monumental work lovingly crafted with great reverence and accuracy, was researched, developed, and written by a group of academically gifted young students of the award-winning Aquinas Honor Society of the Immaculate Conception School, under the direction of respected teacher, author, and local historian Carl Ballenas. They previously partnered on the books Jamaica Estates and Jamaica. Ballenas is also the coauthor of Richmond Hill and Maple Grove Cemetery. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Kew Gardens Council for Recreation (April 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967095409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967095400
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,958,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Kew Gardens, a village in Queens about twelve miles from Manhattan, has been home to movie stars and Broadway performers (Charlie Chaplin, Miriam Hopkins, and Will Rogers), authors (Anais Nin and Dorothy Parker), and even Nobel Prize winners (Ralph Bunche). In many ways it has been a community ahead of its time.
Author Barry Lewis is a New York native who has lived in Kew Gardens for thirty years. He teaches architecture and interior design in New York City and has contributed to a number of guide books. As a resident of the neighborhood, I was happy to come upon this nicely researched, amply illustrated, and intelligently written book on one of New York's more successful and resilient residential communities. Lewis does a good job of giving the history of the Kew Gardens and of explaining how it differed from other experiments to create residential garden communities within large cities in the early part of the twentieth century. He explains how the tone was set at the very beginning by the community's developers, Albon Man and his offspring. They sought to create a workable diversity within a harmonious whole: both commercial and residential, with both private homes and apartment buildings, and which allowed a number of architectural styles. The flavor of the community was also one of diversity (unlike its neighbor, Forest Hills, Jews and people in the performing arts were welcome from the beginning). Residents of the community will certainly enjoy reading this book. But so will students of urban planning and architecture.
The book includes a bibliography consisting mostly of articles cited in the text; it would have been more helpful if it also listed a few more comprehensive works on urban development and architecture. The book could also have benefited from a glossary of architectural terms, an index, and a walking tour that would take people past significant landmarks discussed in the text.
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I lived in Richmond Hill from 1947 to 1966. Going through the book was like stepping back in time. Having attended Holy Child Jesus Church and School I was thrilled to find my picture in the class photo. What a great time I had going back.
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