A veritable Who’s Who of Queens businessmen and builders gathered at Queens Theater in the Park recently as the Queens Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 98th Annual Building Awards & Reception.
Awards were presented by Chamber President Carol Conslato and Award Committee Chair Frank Macchio, for excellence in design for all sorts of major new construction projects, but Bayside stood out as the site of two awards for rehabilitation of existing structures.
Valentino’s on the Green, the prominent new restaurant on the grounds of the , and the , tucked away at the eastern end of 24th Avenue. Both won, for rehabilitating a structure and landscaping, respectively.
Georgio Kolaj of Friendship Group accepted the award for Valentino’s, having masterminded a virtual rebirth of the landmarked structure, famous for being the residence of Rudolf Valentino, the first great movie heart-throb – and arguably the most-beloved Mayor of the City of New York, Fiorello LaGuardia.
Kolaj and his group gave life to the term “sparing no expense,” spending in excess of $3 million in structural and cosmetic improvements to the building and grounds, located at 201-10 Cross Island Parkway.
Despite the new innovations including a “wine wall” and semi-private areas, diners will find the restaurant familiar, and cozy. “Our goal was to bring the romance back,” Kolaj said.
Founded in 1961, the Bay Terrace Country Club is a cooperatively owned private swim club overlooking Little Neck Bay. Southbound motorists on the Cross Island Parkway can catch a glimpse of it, peeking above the opposing greenery between and the .
Located at 217-14 24th Avenue, the Club features a full service café; paddleball, handball, and basketball courts as well as children’s playground and activities – and of course, the pools.
The main pool is one of the largest in Queens, with depths from 3 to 8 feet. With a handicap-access ramp, it includes lap lanes, two slides and plenty of open swim areas. Along with a separate kiddie pool, it is open from May through September.