Neighbors rally to save historic diner and building in Queens

Queens

REGO PARK, Queens — The story of the triangle-shaped lot along Queens Boulevard began 80 years ago.  Over the years, a movie theater became a synagogue and a restaurant turned into a bank, and then a local diner. 

 A clock tower on the corner has become a beacon to Rego Park. Some neighbors don’t want to see it disappear. 

The land owner and developer has filed plans to demolish the building and is asking the city to rezone it. New plans include a 15-story residential complex with commercial space on the ground floor. 

The building is not landmarked. The proposal requires city approval. 

A public hearing was held this month with Community Board 6. That’s the first step in the process. 

The recommendation will be reviewed by the Queens Borough President, and then the city’s Planning Commission, and finally, City Council will make the decision.

Michael Perlman is chairperson of Rego-Forest Preservation Council. He lives nearby and it has been a favorite spot for his family, friends and community.  

“This means something to so many people. For our developers and politicians to ignore us, it’s unfair and a travesty,” he said. 

Some of the businesses have found new homes. The owners of the diner have another restaurant down the boulevard. 

Perlman says the fight for the building and clock tower goes on. A petition set up by the preservation council currently has nearly 4,000 signatures. 

A representative for the land owner and developer did not have any additional comment. 

The company website says the new structure could be open by 2024. The review process routinely lasts six months or more. 

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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