A Jane’s Walk in Douglaston, Queens

It’s May in New York City, which means that the Municipal Art Society has once again offered more than 200 neighborhood walks throughout the city. The walks honor Jane Jacobs, who was a journalist and community activist in New York City for many years. Jane Jacobs believed that urban development should take into account the community, and the annual walks illustrate that community-based theme. Last year I explored East Harlem during two unique Jane’s Walks. (You can read about those walks here and here.) This year I decided to use a Jane’s Walk to explore a neighborhood I had never been to before – Douglaston, in the borough of Queens.

The Jane’s Walk in Douglaston focused on the historic district, which is known as Douglas Manor. Douglas Manor was a planned community constructed in the early 20th century, not long after Queens became a part of New York City. What makes Douglas Manor special is its large collection of historic Arts and Craft style homes. In fact, those homes have resulted in Douglas Manor being named a New York City landmark. The walk was sponsored by the Douglaston Local Development Corporation and the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society, and was led by architects Kevin Wolfe, Victor Dadras, and Robert Dadras. Here’s Kevin Wolfe, who has led restoration efforts on a number of the community’s homes, explaining what characterizes the Arts and Craft style.

One of the things we quickly learned is that what makes the Arts and Crafts style special is its focus on handmade, craftsman-created architectural details. That means that Arts and Crafts homes can vary significantly in appearance and materials, often incorporating elements of other architectural styles as well. The diversity of Arts and Crafts design quickly became apparent on our walk, and early May is the perfect time to explore this neighborhood, with its many flowering trees. Here are just a few examples of the homes we discovered.

One of my favorite homes was this one, which was built by Norweigian painter and sculptor Trygve Hammer. I loved its unique character, and the fact that its handcrafted details made it fit the Arts and Crafts theme.

Interested in learning more about Douglas Manor? You can read the New York City Landmark report here, on the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society’s Website. To visit Douglas Manor in person, take the Long Island Railroad’s Port Washington line to Douglaston. The historic area is located a short walk north of the train station.

This seems like a good one for Jo’s Monday Walk – and, as always, I never do it on a Monday. If you haven’t checked out Jo’s blog, Restless Jo, I recommend it!

19 thoughts on “A Jane’s Walk in Douglaston, Queens

  1. Spring looking good there too, Susan! Thanks so much for thinking of me. I thought you must be busy. It can’t be easy to keep the blog going with a busy job too. 🙂 🙂

    1. I like the simple lines of some of them, yet they really do have so much character. I love the wooden shingles on some, as well as the “eyebrow” window on the top of others. It really is a special collection of homes. There are some more modern houses mixed in, built before the landmark designation, but still the entire neighborhood has such character.

  2. Hi Susan! This is great and I particularly enjoyed the spring blossom photos. Would you allow me to share the four photos that are just of flowers on a blog-post for my followers as I know they’d enjoy them. I’d credit to you of course and also link back to your post and to your blog. If this is ok by you, then please let me know. Regards, Liz

  3. Those are lovely homes. I remember your Jane’s Walks from last year and investigated. I thought the women’s library might want to hook up, but it didn’t really fit into their programme and i’m too busy to tackle one alone. But someday I might…

  4. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Vindolanda Roman Fort | restlessjo

  5. Pingback: Spring Blossom in Douglas Manor, NYC – Exploring Colour

  6. Love those houses, especially the grand blue and white one with the wraparound porch (which I typically just think of as “American Victorian” because I’m not that well versed in architecture!), and the Trygve Hammer one. My boyfriend’s mother lives in Switzerland in a chalet that is not as colourful as the Hammer house, but is a similar style. It looks like a fun walk!

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