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Westbound Queens Blvd,
toward old Alexander's
Photo Gallery: Queens Blvd

Death Blvd

Above, we're looking toward the 63rd Drive/63rd Road intersection, on 12 lane wide Queens Blvd, in the heart of my old neighborhood, Rego Park, in Queens, NYC. Visible at the corner, behind the twin-quarterloops, is Alexanders, once the premier low end department store chain in NY. To the left is a view of Alexanders from 63rd Drive.
When I shot this in 1992, Alexanders had already been bankrupt and shut down, for several months. For some reason, soneone in their corporate hierarchy forgot to turn off the lights. Alexanders truly defied logic. It's stock was around 15 when it filed Chapter 11. I figured, there goes the neighborhood, that the stock would instantly plummet to around 1 or 2. Goes to show why a sell signal from me, is a buy to the rest of humanity.
Within a few months, Alexanders bankrupt common stock had soared to near 60! It turned out that after shutting their doors, they ended the flow of red ink engendered by trying to stay open. Now they could sit back on all the appreciating real estate that they owned, like this store, and wait for solvent tenants to lease or buy.
This particular site appears cursed, however. Another regional discount chain, Caldor's, signed on to take over and remodel the site. With completion still months away, in the fall of 1995, Caldor's ran into cash flow troubles, was cut off by it's factors and suppliers, and followed it's predecessor into ole Chappie One-One.
Mighty Sears Roebuck, looking over the site from the lofty heights of their 112 story Sears Tower in Chicago, took over. They ramrodded the project through to completion, including a powerful looking multistory garage, adjacent to the main building. One day, in mid 1997, part of that garage caved in, luckily taking no lives.
The dark office building visible behind the store was a neighborhood legend as well. Built around 1970, it was mostly unrented for years. It could barely even keep it's storefronts full. If it wasn't brown, it would've been a white elephant. Even to this day, nearly 30 years later, I'll bet there's some spot in there that has never been rented.

© 1997, Jeff Saltzman.