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Illegal Signs Removed from Building on Historic Downtown Jamaica Block

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | August 28, 2013 5:14pm
 A local group successfully fought to remove ads from a buidling on Jamaica Avenue.
Illegal Signs on Jamaica Avenue
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QUEENS — Signs that cluttered a corner on a historic block on Jamaica Avenue for years — some of which were illegal — were recently removed after a push by advocates trying to beautify the block.

For several years, the building, at 161-10 Jamaica Ave., which houses a Chase bank branch on the ground floor, was covered with signs advertising local doctors and dentists, according to the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a nonprofit local development organization.

The signs were also placed on the sidewalk in front of the building, a violation of city law.

Carlisle Towery, Greater Jamaica’s president, said the signs around the building took away from the streetscape along the historic stretch, which has also been revived as an important shopping area.

Towery wrote letters to the Department of Buildings, the local police precinct, and the bank branch on July 22 asking them to help him convince the owner of the building to remove the signs.

In his letters, Towery described the structure as “an important, beautiful building on a high profile block in Downtown Jamaica, featuring a number of designated New York City landmarks.”

A complaint for illegal signage was lodged against the building on Aug. 21 and a city inspector later issued violations, according to DOB records.

The building is located on the block that includes the former Jamaica Savings Bank buildings, which dates to 1898, and was once described by the Landmarks Preservation Commission as "the finest Beaux-Arts building in Queens."

A building next door, which is home to Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, is also landmarked.

Last week, the signs were removed from the building owned by Jamaica Group 26 LLC, according to Greater Jamaica.

“An attractive streetscape is essential to advance and enhance downtown Jamaica as the attractive shopping experience it has become,” Towery said.

The landlord could not be immediately reached for comment.