QUEENS — For decades, Parker Towers, a Forest Hills complex built in the early 1960s, has been famous for its massive fountain, located in the middle of its courtyard.
Called by residents "the crowning glory of Parker Towers," the fountain has been depicted on the complex's logo and several pictures of it are still posted on its website.
Photo: DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska
But the management of Parker Towers, consisting of three 22-story high-rises at Queens and Yellowstone boulevards, stopped turning the fountain on several years ago, and last week, residents received an email that the fountain will be demolished in June as part of “the enhancement of the inner courtyard.”
The email, obtained by DNAinfo New York, does not mention why the fountain is being demolished or what would replace it.
As of Tuesday, about half of the structure was already removed and a tree that grew in the middle of it for nearly three decades was cut down, residents said.
Tenants said the fountain, which would turn on from Memorial Day to Labor Day, became the trademark of the complex, which was one of the first high-rises in the neighborhood.
The fountain at Parker Towers (Credit: www.parkertowers.nyc)
At some point, residents said, the fountain even featured colored lights installed at the bottom of the structure, making the courtyard feel "festive."
“I would see couples at night walking around the fountain, savoring the spray on a hot night and kids going up to the fountain and dipping their toes in,” said one resident, who has lived in the complex for several decades, but did not want his name to be used. “The spray went so high that the sun would catch it and sometimes you would see rainbows on the pavement."
Other tenants said that they will miss the fountain and were sad that the tree and other plants in the courtyard were gone as part of the process.
But they also said that the fountain has been causing leaks in the garage, located directly beneath the structure, since at least the early 1990s, occasionally causing paint damage to the cars.
Local historian Michael Perlman, who called the fountain “a work of art” and “part of the history of our neighborhood,” said he wished the management restored the fountain instead of demolishing it.
“At the time [when Parker Towers was completed], the fountain was called "The Fountain of Youth" and the centerpiece of its interior gardens," Perlman said. "It is a beacon not only for Parker Towers, but for our neighborhood."
The management did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.