You know what Moda is today — modern, elegant living. But there’s also a bit of history here that began in the early part of the 20th Century.
In 1930, on this very location, the Central Library Building of the Queens Borough Public Library opened. The interior was designed in the Italian Renaissance style with marble walls and floors, and classic-style detailing. After 36 years of serving their local community, the Central Library Building outgrew its space and moved to a new facility on Merrick Boulevard.
By 1970, the library was completely renovated into the Queens Family Court, which was constructed with a grand brick and stone façade. Enter Moda, 40 years later. As we open our doors, a piece of history remains, with the original courthouse façade as the main architectural feature of the Moda building.
The former Queens Family Courthouse was originally constructed in 1928-30 as the Central Library Building of the Queens Borough Public Library. Robert F. Schirmer and Junius W. Schmidt designed the Classical Revival-style building. The Queens Borough Public Library expanded the building in 1941 with a large addition to the rear (west) facade. In 1968-70, the building was further renovated and converted to the Queens County Family Court. As part of that renovation, another addition to the rear and side facades was built, and a three-story, modernist annex was constructed to the west. Kiff, Boss & Franklin, Architects, the Office of York & Sawyer were the architects of the conversion and annex. The former Central Library Building was the system’s central facility for approximately 35 years. The building has been altered, most significantly on the interior where little or no vestiges of the original layout and finishes remain. Alterations to the exterior include reconstruction of the parapet and main entrance and the two rear additions.
In 1901, three years after the consolidation of Greater New York, the Long Island City Library joined with four other local libraries at the prompting of New York City to form the Queens Borough Public Library. Chartered in 1896, the Long Island City Library consisted of the Long Island City, Steinway, and Astoria libraries, and the four other original members of the Queens Borough Public Library were those of Hollis, Queens Village, Richmond Hill, and Ozone Park. Consolidation of the independent libraries was pushed by the City of New York to ease the management of city appropriations, and the state charter of the new system extended service to the entire borough of Queens.
By 1928, the site at Parsons Boulevard and 89th Avenue had been acquired and the Board of Trustees had selected Robert F. Schirmer and Junius W. Schmidt to design the new Central Library Building.