Assemblyman Rory Lancman held a ceremony with residents of Parkway Village in Kew Gardens Hills to commemorate its listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Parkway Village, established as housing for United Nations employees and diplomats by President Harry Truman in 1946, was the first racially and ethnically diverse planned community in order to accommodate the diversity of its inhabitants.
By mid-1952, Parkway Village’s tenants represented 117 different countries. Parkway Village's unique diversity attracted various notable Americans among its earliest residents, such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Ralph Bunche, author Betty Freidan, and NAACP Executive Director Roy Wilkins.
“As a community struggling to survive and flourish in challenging economic times, it is gratifying for long-time parkway residents like me to witness the official recognition of Parkway Village’s illustrious history,” said Judith Guttman, co-president of the Parkway Village Historical Society.
Parkway Village was designed by renowned architect Leonard Schultze, who was also responsible for assisting and designing such landmarks as Grand Central Station, the Waldorf Astoria and the Breakers in Palm Beach.
The contours of the land were preserved, with buildings covering only 16 percent of the original acreage, preserving open space for its residents.
In order to meet the criteria for a listing on the register, a site usually has to be at least 50 years old, must look similar to the way it did in the past and must be determined to be “historically significant.”
Being listed on the register carries some significant benefits, including a 20 percent tax credit on rehabilitation expenditures for residential properties listed on the state register, as well as qualifying for both state and federal grants.
“I was enticed by Parkway Village’s rich history, unique architecture and beautiful acreage when I moved here over 29 years ago,” said Judy Shack, Co-President of the Parkway Village Historical Society. “With our listing on the State and National Registers, we can now assist in preserving our homes for future generations.”