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Fitzgerald Ginsburg Mansion | by Emilio Guerra
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Fitzgerald Ginsburg Mansion

Fitzgerald Ginsburg Mansion, Flushing, Queens

 

The Fitzgerald/Ginsberg Mansion is a rare 1920s, picturesque Tudor Revival style mansion in Flushing, Queens designed by architect John Oakman. Constructed in 1924, it features rusticated, irregularly shaped fieldstone walls, a multi-colored slate roof, casement and leaded glass windows, and picturesque massing. Large, suburban picturesque revival-style houses from the 1920s were at one time prevalent throughout New York City's affluent residential outer neighborhoods, but have become increasingly rare. The Fitzgerald house is one of the last great mansions from this period still standing in Flushing.

 

The house represents the affluence and optimism of the 1920s. It was built immediately adjacent to an extension of Flushing's Old Country Club and its golf course - a typical suburban pattern of those years. The Old Country Club, founded in 1887, built its golf course in 1902. It is credited as being one of the oldest private country clubs in the United States. The club house and golf course have since been demolished.

 

The architect of the house, John Oakman worked for Carrere & Hastings and then formed a partnership with W. Powell before starting his own practice in 1909, specializing in picturesque single family houses. The house was built for Charles and Florence Fitzgerald, who sold it in 1926 to Ethel and Morris Ginsberg. Ginsberg made his fortune as part of a family-owned business supplying sash, door and wooden trim for builders. The firm was considered to be one of the leaders in this field in the Long Island region. The Ginsberg family lived in the house for over seventy years.

 

The Fitzgerald-Ginsberg house is a substantial, two-story tall (plus basement and attic), Tudor Revival style mansion on a 100' x 200' lot, facing onto Bayside Avenue, with an attached garage at the rear. The house is substantially set back from the sidewalk, and approached by a curving gravel drive. Main fagade: The main fa?ade, facing Bayside Avenue, is a long, asymmetrically massed, picturesque composition, organized around two major gable-end sections. Each gabled section is two-and-a-half stories tall, with the gable forming the top half-story, and each is faced with irregular fieldstone blocks of varying shape (generally rectangular) and color. The gables have flared eaves. The roof is a graduated slate roof, with larger, thicker slate at the eaves, and narrower, thinner slate at the ridge line.

 

Windows are slightly recessed, with projecting lintels, and enframed by the fieldstone blocks. The gabled section to the east has a tripartite window at the ground floor level, each with small diamond panes, and at the second story level a smaller window with four tall, narrow casements. The gabled section to the west has two irregularly placed windows at the ground floor level, and a window at the second story level.

 

Between the two gabled sections, the pitched roof slopes down to a one-story section with the house's main entrance; there is a small double dormer window set into the roof, but not directly over the entrance. The entrance is approached by two levels of flagstone; it is outlined by a finished stone surround that is curved at each of the upper corners of the entrance; a small period lantern is attached and centered just above the entranceway; the entrance is shaded by the roof eave which extends slightly over it. There is a historic wooden door, with vertical panels and a small light near the center top, at eye-level, and a non-historic storm door.

 

To the east of the eastern gabled section, there is a two-story section with a steeply sloping roof above; this section is faced not in stone but in stucco. The ground level is taken up almost entirely by a large four-part casement window with a painted wood frame. At the second story level, there is a smaller, four-part casement window, shaded by the roof eave which extends slightly over it.

 

To the west of the western gabled section, the roofline dips below the gable, though not as low as the roofline over the main entrance; there is a four-part casement window with a painted wood frame at the ground floor level, and a basement level below it, partly below-grade - where the ground slopes downward towards the west - with a similar four-part casement window; a retaining wall, constructed of the same unfinished fieldstone as the house, projects perpendicularly from the house just east of this window.

 

At the western edge of the facade, the ground slopes downward fully exposing the basement level of the facade. The house ends here in a two-story porch-like section corresponding to the ground-floor level and the basement level of the rest of the house. On the eastern half of this section, a stone stairway at the basement level leads to a ground-floor level doorway; the roof extends further down over this section, forming a separate pent-roof over the entrance; this roof section is supported by a wooden beam extending down to the second step of the stone staircase. On the western half of this section, the basement portion of the facade is faced in fieldstone, while the ground-level portion is almost entirely taken up by a large multipaned wooden window. East fagade: The east fa?ade is comprised of two sections: to the front of the house, a two-story-and-attic gabled section slightly shorter than the main section of the house but projecting out, eastward, from it; and to the rear a small, one-story, separately roofed area. Its ground-level story is faced in fieldstone in its lower portion, with a central doorway with six panels in its lower half and a nine-light window in its upper half, with a four-light transom above; the doorway is flanked on either side by two tall casement windows. The second-story and attic levels are faced in stucco, with a large five-part casement window at the second story.

 

- From the 2005 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report

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Taken on May 13, 2009