QUEENS PLACE MALL (FORMER MACY’S BUILDING)
88-01 Queens Boulevard
1965, Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill
In 1965, Macy’s engaged the prominent architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to design their newest store in Queens, for which they had purchased almost all the real estate in the irregular block bounded by Queens Boulevard, 55th Avenue, 56th Avenue and Justice Avenue. The original design included an elaborate entranceway to the circular building, surrounded by a parking garage, but because they failed to acquire the lot at the corner of Queens and 55th, Macy’s was forced to create street-level entrance doors along the perimeter of the exterior. The property and house in question belonged to Mary Sendek, who bought it with her husband in 1922 and had lived there ever since. She refused to sell it, even after Macy’s offered five times the value of the land. When Mary died in 1980, her estate sold the property and a commercial building now stands on the site.
While Macy’s design was innovative for its time and succeeded at introducing the automobile-centered shopping mall of the suburbs to the urban density of Queens, less than a decade after Macy’s Queens Boulevard opened, Queens Center, a larger, more modern and centrally located mall would open just blocks away. In 1996, even Macy’s would relocate to Queens Center, with the former site now housing various stores and a Macy’s furniture gallery.