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La Casina

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)

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La Casina was a nightclub and restaurant built in 1933 in Jamaica, New York. The steel and glass building was designed in a Streamlined Moderne architectural style, which was popular in the 1930s. The nightclub closed down sometime between 1938 and 1940 when the owner of the club, Arnold Behrer, lost the property rights to the building. The building served several other purposes after the nightclub left. Today, it is used by the Jamaica Business Resource Center. It was put on the National Register of Historical Places in 1990.

The Building Today
Picture from Mid-20th Century

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Located on 160th Street, La Casina was a nightclub opened in 1933 in Jamaica, New York at the end of Prohibition. Jamaica, which is part of Queens County, was one of the first settlements in New York. Thanks to its central location in the county, Jamaica became a cultural and economic center by the early 20th century. La Casina, however, would only have a short life, closing by 1940 when the owner, Arnold Behrer, lost the title to the property. 

After La Casina was closed, the property was awarded to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. In 1942, the property was sold to another church, and it was sold again in 1946 to a manufacturer of women's bras. The Ellen Howard Corporation purchased the building in 1952, using it to manufacture bathing suits.  This company left in 1987, and the building was neglected until it was purchased in 1989 by the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.

Between 1994 and 1995, the building was restored by Li-Saltzman, an architectural firm. The firm removed aluminum siding, added in the 1960s or 1970s, replaced galvanized iron which had deteriorated, and changed the colors of the building back to the original colors.  The original plate-glass windows, which had been replaced with glass-block windows, were added back as well.

Today, the building serves as an example of Streamlined Moderne architecture, popular in the 1930s. The building is characterized by the ziggurat rooftop and its two-tiered facade. The bottom portion of the building is lined with half gray and half coral stucco. The wood and glass double doors at the entrance are the original doors from the building. La Casina was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1990. It is currently occupied by the Jamaica Business Resource Center. 

Sources

Dolkart, Andrew. "La Casina." NYC Government. 1/30/96. Accessed Web, 12/7/17. http://s-media.nyc.gov/agencies/lpc/lp/1940.pdf.

Spellen, Suzanne. "Queenswalk: Meet Me at La Casina, Baby!." Brownstoner. 3/18/15. Accessed Web, 12/9/17. https://www.brownstoner.com/history/queenswalk-meet-me-at-la-casina-baby/.

"New York-Queens County-Vacant/Not in Use." National Register of Historical Places. Accessed Web, 12/9/17. http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/ny/queens/vacant.html.

Walsh, Kevin. Forgotten Queens (Images of America). Images of America. Charleston, South Carolina. Arcadia Publishing, 2013.


Address
90-33 160th Street
Jamaica, New York
Tags
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Cultural History
User Created Tours That Include This Entry
This location was created on 2017-12-07 by Gavin Thagard .   It was last updated on 2017-12-10 by Gavin Thagard .

This entry has been viewed 90 times within the past year

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